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Malaysia using digital MaGIC to join the spend-on-tech-to-defeat-viral-slump club

$8bn for all things innovative and economically restorative

Malaysia has decided to splash cash on tech as part of its post-pandemic economic stimulus plan.

As outlined yesterday by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), the nation has cooked up 40 initiatives and funding of RM35bn (US$8bn) to promote increased use of technology by small business and more development of digital government services.

The latter will be driven by a new National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS)

Startups will be among those receiving the cash, thanks to assistance for both venture capital funds and the firms they back.

Social enterprises that aim to develop sustainable businesses that make a positive impact will also receive aid, with their efforts partly funded by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Center (MaGIC).

High-tech manufacturing and blue-sky efforts like robotics were also mentioned as the sort of thing Malaysia wants to develop as it works to kickstart its economy after COVID-caused lockdowns kicked a hole in business activity.

Malaysia started to lift its coronavirus lockdown in early May, citing the need to stimulate economic activity. Today the nation introduced a new “Recovery Movement Control Order” that permits domestic tourism, non-contact sport training and the re-opening of markets. Schools and religious gatherings will be progressively allowed, once social distancing is sorted out.

Pubs remain closed, but Karaoke is also still prohibited so at least amateur warblers ruining pop classics won’t ruin anyone’s beer. ®

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