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Tax Exemptions, Dedicated Programmes And Incentives For VCs Makes Its Way Into Budget 2023 Wishlist

Disruptr MY

3 Oct 2022

Budget 2023 is set to be tabled on Oct 7 and while discussions have taken place between Putrajaya and stakeholders from the business ecosystem, Disruptr has rounded up experts from different parts of the ecosystem to share their wishlist with us.

“Ad spend by Malaysians on Facebook is approximately RM2 billion. This is RM2 billion that is going out of the country. There is a need to look at onshoring some of this so that the local economy can be stimulated,” says Ashran Ghazi, Chief Executive Officer of Dattel Asia Group.

In his Budget 2023 wishlist, Ashran proposes the government to onshore some of this ad spend to encourage Malaysian enterprises and startups to spend on local platforms such as premium content publishers such as Media Prima Group, the Star, Astro, Malay Mail and Amanz Network among others.

“I would like to recommend that a catalyst fund of RM50 million to be allocated for Malaysian enterprises, to start trying local platforms for their marketing activities.

“I believe this effort will bring sustainable impact to the country, helping enterprises and local premium content publishers,” he tells Disruptr.

On the other end, Aaron Sharma, General Partner of ScaleUp Malaysia says while the government has announced policies, programmes and initiatives to help the Rakyat over the last two Budgets, global economic headwinds are still underway despite reaching the end of the pandemic.

“This year, the thematic outcome I am looking for is to see the government double down on digital development. Helping the startup ecosystem needs to be more than just about helping startups. It needs to be a holistic approach from ensuring broad based adoption of digital services by Malaysians and ensuring a continuation of policies to encourage SMEs to adopt digital solutions.

“Talent also needs to be prioritised in the name of ensuring that we create, attract and retain digital talent in the market,” he says

He further adds that from a funding standpoint, there needs to be better access to capital for startups through venture capital firms, venture debt and grants.

Agencies like Cradle, MDV, MRANTI and MDEC play a really important role to ensure that startups receive funding efficiently. He is also urging for the Penjana Kapital initiative to be renewed to ensure more fund managers enter the ecosystem and invest in more startups.

At ScaleUp Malaysia we are in the business of investing and equipping startups. We have announced investments in 30 great companies and over the last year we have been very concerned that the pandemic would affect our startups adversely. Thankfully many initiatives in the last budget have positively impacted our startups.

Aida Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Centre For Sustainability Intelligence (CSI) Sdn. Bhd., a digitally-led, sustainability-enabled business organisation has recommended that Malaysia build supply chains for the future through tax incentives and dedicated programmes to nudge companies towards accelerating sustainability transformation across their supply chain.

“More importantly, the smaller enterprises and startups, who are also part of the supply chain, will benefit from having a shared sustainability self-assessment platform that will enable them to compete on a level playing field with the other suppliers which will boost their resilience and agility,” she says.

Adding on, Winacore Capital founder and investment director Ashwin Chockalingam is hoping for stamp duty exemptions on venture debt, a wider lower tax band for startups and for tax incentives that are applicable for SC registered VC firms to be expanded to non-registered VC firms.

Commenting on a similar note, Rachel Lau, Co-founder and Managing Partner at RHL Ventures is hoping to see considerations on employment passes for foreign hires, tax exemptions for local Malaysian GPs for 10 years as part of a startup and free trade zones for startups and VCs that invest in Malaysian tech.

She also hopes to see incentives similar to ones in Singapore for new GP set ups as well as tax rebates for Malaysian tech startups if the IPO takes place in Malaysia.

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