This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jeremy Chew. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What Malaysia’s Budget 2018 Announcement Means for E-Commerce

More from Jeremy Chew

This year has been great for Malaysian ecommerce, as the government has pledged various resources to fast-track the sector’s development. This was evident in the government’s partnership with Alibaba to set up a Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), the first of its kind outside of China.
Further bolstering this, the government recently declared the digital economy as one of its eight key thrusts in the country’s growth plan for 2020. Along with this were other notable budget allocations and initiatives that are expected to benefit ecommerce in the country:
  1. Rolling out the DFTZ
  2. Additional incentives for venture companies
  3. Stimulating innovation through a regulatory sandbox
  4. Development of communications infrastructure in East Malaysia
  5. Equipping the youth with basic tech capabilities
1. Rolling out the Digital Free Trade Zone


Image credit: Ir Sofian

What was announced?
  • RM83.5 million (USD19.7 million) will be allocated to construct the first phase of Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Aeropolis, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), to create a regional gateway for e-commerce.
How will this benefit e-commerce?
The corporation between the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC – an agency assigned to oversee the development of e-commerce in Malaysia) with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to set up the DFTZ in Malaysia is a huge win for SMEs and e-commerce. In a post-budget comment, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, the CEO of MDEC mentioned that the DFTZ will “Go Live” on 3 November and 1,900 export-ready SMEs will be flagged off to begin their export journey.
The budget allocation will see the initiation of physical and virtual zones aided with online and digital services to facilitate cross border e-commerce and invigorate internet based-innovation. Among it will include:
  • e-Fulfilment Hub that will digitise trading operations such customs clearance, foreign exchange services, financing services and logistics solutions which is expected to make bilateral trade more seamless
  • Satellite Services Hub that will facilitate end-to-end support and knowledge learning for companies targeting consumers on the Southeast Asian level
  • e-Service Platform that will digitally connect users with government and business services across the region
Once successfully implemented, the DFTZ is set to benefit SMEs and is projected to attract more than RM700 million worth of investments.
2. Additional Incentives for Venture Companies


Image credit: Pexels

What was announced?
  • A sum of RM1 billion (US240 million) will be provided by major institutional investors for investment in venture capital in main selected sectors, coordinated by the Securities Commission (SC)
  • Expansion of income tax exemption to include management and performance fees received by venture capital management company, effective from year of assessment 2018 to 2022;
  • To facilitate venture capital companies to invest in venture companies, minimum investment in venture companies be reduced from 70% to 50%, effective year of assessment 2018 to 2022
  • Companies or individuals investing in venture capital companies will be provided tax deduction equivalent to the amount of the investment made in the venture companies, limited to a maximum of RM20 million annually
  • Extension of income tax exemption incentive equivalent to the amount of investment made by an angel investor in venture companies to 31 December 2020.
How will this benefit e-commerce?
In the past six years, the top 10 e-commerce in Malaysia has raised a collective total of RM14 billion (USD3.3 billion) in funds to develop their online platform for consumers. The incentives provided by the government would encourage further investments into e-commerce startups.
Yasmin from MDEC also notes that this is a visionary move as the startup ecosystem will be job creators of the future. By the year 2025, the digital economy is expected to create more than 60,000 jobs in Malaysia.
3. Stimulating Innovation through Regulatory Sandbox


Image credit: Pexels

What was announced?
To drive further innovation from startups in the country, the government will continue to create a conducive ecosystem to gain greater benefits from innovation. To that end, the government will expand its regulatory sandbox approach to facilitate companies test their new innovative ideas and business model with the assistance of related regulators.
What does this mean for e-commerce?
Still in its infancy in Malaysia, the regulatory sandbox remains a new initiative in Malaysia. Following United Kingdom’s (UK) success, countries such as Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore together with Malaysia has tested the innovation formula to drive innovation from fintech companies.
In May 2017, BNM announced that four entrants will participate in the initiative which allows them to experiment innovative financial products or services within a well-defined, controlled and ‘safe’ space. The rolling out of this initiative for startups beyond the fintech industry will be highly beneficial as it will provide an avenue where their products and ideas can be tested before implementing it on a larger scale.
4. Development of Communications Infrastructure in East Malaysia


Image credit: Pexels

What was announced?
A sum of RM1 billion (USD 240 million) will be allocated through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to improve communication infrastructures and broadband facilities in Sabah and Sarawak.
How will this benefit e-commerce?
Though the adoption of e-commerce in East Malaysia remained slow, the growth potential remains high. A recent research showed that online shoppers in East Malaysia spent 75% more time searching for products online and are 10% more likely to shop using a desktop when compared to consumers in West Malaysia. One possible rationale was because consumers found it easier to shop via desktop as it provides a more stable internet connection as compared to mobile broadband.
The government’s allocation of RM1 billion to improve its telecommunications infrastructure will definitely boost the number of mobile internet users. Though this has an indirect effect on e-commerce, it has the potential to spur the number of online shoppers from East Malaysia in the near future.
5. Equipping the Young Generation with Basic Tech Capabilities


Image credit: Pexels

What was announced?
A total of RM250 million (USD58.9 million) will be allocated to the education sector to improve the existing Enhanced Computer Science module and Coding programmes implemented in primary and secondary school curriculums. In addition to this, a sum of RM190 million (USD44.8 million) will be allocated to upgrade 2,000 classes into a 21st Century Smart Classroom to enhance creative-based learning and innovative thinking.
How will this benefit e-commerce?
MDEC has forecasted that the digital economy needs more than one million digital workers, such as coders, application developers and software engineers, by 2025. The strategy of joint public-private-academia collaboration would be vital to encourage the youth community from just being users of digital innovation to become producers or digital innovators. Malaysia currently lacks in local tech professionals and this is a vital move to ensure Malaysia will have the needed workforce to support the futuristic economy.


Written by Jeremy Chew from iPrice Group. For the best coupons and discounts on tech gadgets, check out these Lazada vouchers and Zalora vouchers. Planning for your next getaway? Here are amazing deals by couponAgoda promo code & Expedia coupon.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.

You must be to comment.

More from Jeremy Chew

Similar Posts

By BaluSingh RajPurohit

By Mely Jess

By Yusuf Abidin

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below