Public infrastructure to see upgrade for e-commerce growth

By P PREM KUMAR & D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

HSBB will be an essential asset to promote the digital economy’s growth in the country, says the prime minister

P Prem Kumar & D KanyakumariThe improvement of public infrastructure and incentives for start-ups are in the offing as the government intensifies efforts to boost the country’s e-commerce sector.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said among the initiatives to be undertaken include further upgrading of high-speed broadband (HSBB) services.

HSBB would be an essential asset to promote the digital economy’s growth in the country, Najib told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“We are also extending tax exemptions for a period of 5+5 years to approved start-up firms to explore and grow in the e-commerce sector.

“We need to make it (HSBB) faster and definitely more accessible to people all over the country,” Najib said.

The government is also currently working hard towards creating more awareness among Malaysians on the e-commerce’s potential growth.

“We are trying to make people aware that the potential for growth is really big, and many Malaysians can make a good living by exploring into it,” he said.

Najib said this in response to a query from Rantau Panjang MP Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, who asked the prime minister to elaborate on challenges faced by the government in expanding Malaysia’s e-commerce sector.

Last week, Najib — together with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd executive chairman Jack Ma — flagged off 1,972 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to operate in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

DFTZ will facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the Internet economy and cross-border trade.

During the launch, Najib said the DFTZ would increase goods exports of SMEs to US$38 billion (RM159.6 billion) and create over 60,000 employment opportunities, in addition to supporting the movement of US$65 billion of goods by 2025.

“We want DFTZ to be one of the iconic projects because the digital economy contributes 18.2% to the country’s gross domestic product and is expected to grow to 20% by 2020,” he said.

“So far, we have received very encouraging response for our eRezeki and eUsahawan programmes,” he added.