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KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Malaysia has welcomed the 2015 Budget, saying it is geared towards improving people’s lives through technology in key areas such as education and business.

Managing Director Carlos Lacerda said the RM375 million allocation to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) enhance their business potential and increase their contribution to 41 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020 is a welcome move.

He said the allocation would facilitate the setting up of a modern information and technology platform based on advanced, innovative solutions and services to build SMEs’ business and improve their competitiveness.

Microsoft also lauded the announcement of the accelerated capital allowance on the purchase of ICT equipment and software, and an additional tax deduction on expenses incurred for training in accounting and ICT relating to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

On the government’s education allocation of RM56 billion for 2015, up from last year’s allocation of RM54.6 billion, Lacerda said Microsoft is a committed advisor to the government and a partner for the education sector.

“We support the nation’s efforts to develop human capital with practical and relevant 21st century skills that meet the demands of a global economy and industry.

“For more than 20 years here in Malaysia we have been equipping our leaders of tomorrow with the necessary skillsets towards building a high-income, knowledge-based economy,” he added.

Echoing Microsoft, another IT company, Cisco Malaysia, said SMEs form the backbone of Malaysia’s economy and efforts to spur their growth and transformation are timely.

Its Country Manager, Albert Chai, said the allocations under the Sustainable Mobility Fund, SME Investment Partner and the SME soft loan scheme for automation and modernisation as well as the Business Accelerator Programme are great initiatives that would spur Malaysia’s holistic advancement into a developed economy.

On the high speed broadband (HSBB) allocation of RM2.7 billion to increase telecommunications towers and sea cables, Chai said great connectivity brings great opportunities, as businesses, schools and individuals could be more creative and innovative and develop richer experiences and applications in an Internet economy.

Meanwhile, MyKris Ltd, a Malaysian internet and intranet services provider listed in New Zealand, said the additional HSBB allocation would spur Internet penetration, help drive Internet charges down and attract more international telcos and regional countries to transit via Malaysia.

Its Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman Chew Choo Soon said to make the investment more fruitful, the project should be undertaken by a neutral party with a fair pricing mechanism.

– BERNAMA

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