Budget 2017 tech highlights

Posted:  October 21, 2016   By:    36 comments   



The 2017 Budget was just revealed by the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and it contained quite a lot of interesting allocations. But what about tech? Well, here’s what you need to know.

Mobile devices

First up, let’s look at mobile devices. The Prime Minister announced today that there is good news for the taxpayers when it comes to mobile devices. According to the Prime Minister, there are currently 21 categories of individual tax reliefs. To facilitate taxpayers in claiming existing tax reliefs, the purchase of reading materials, computers and sports equipment will be combined under the lifestyle tax relief.

This relief will also be expanded to include the purchase of printed newspapers, smartphones, tablets, internet subscriptions and gymnasium membership fees. Further, this relief will be given up to RM2,500 per year and will be effective from year of assessment 2017.

This is a rather big change from the existing tax relief options which are rather scattered. Currently, you get RM1,000/year for reading materials (that does not include newspapers), RM3,000/3 years for the purchase of computers, and RM300/year for sports equipment. Now, everything seems to be lumped together under one yearly tax relief.

For civil servants, the Prime Minister also announced that the 2017 Budget will be extending the existing Computer Loan facility to encompass the purchase of smartphones too. Civil servants will be able to utilise this loan once every three years up to a maximum of RM5,000 — that’s enough for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus!

When it comes to students, the Prime Minister revealed that the government will be doing away with the book vouchers and will instead be introducing a student debit card worth RM250. This card can be used to purchase books, stationery, computer accessories and internet access. This new card will benefit 1.3 million students.

Teachers (430,000 of them), on the other hand, will receive assistance from the MCMC as RM340 million has been allocated to provide the teaching force with free tablets to ease their teaching tasks.

Fixed-line broadband services


More good news comes in the form of the fixed-line broadband services UniFi, Streamyx, Maxis Fibre, Time Broadband, etc. The Prime Minister announced that by January 2017, fixed-line broadband service providers will be offering services at a higher speed for the same price.

An example he gave was that if a subscriber was paying RM149 for a 5Mbps package, the subscriber would be able to enjoy a two-fold speed upgrade — that’s 10Mbps — without a change in pricing. That’s great news, though he did not specify if every service speed would be doubled. Still, more speed is always better right?

Besides that, the Prime Minister also stated that within the next two years, the very package that he said would go into effect in January would have its speed doubled while having its price cut by 50%.

What’s more, he also said that the government would be launching an initiative for ethernet broadband services in public universities to be increased to a maximum of 100 gigabits per second.

He also revealed that the Malaysian Communications and multimedia Commission (MCMC) will be providing assistance in the form of RM1 billion to ensure that the coverage and quality of broadband nationwide “reaches up to 20 megabits per second”. We’re not quite sure if that means an average of 20Mbps or a minimum of 20Mbps, but considering the fact that 4G LTE speeds and fixed broadband lines from UniFi and Time Broadband have far surpassed 20Mbps, we’re hoping it’s the latter.

Either way, the implications of this could be huge, especially concerning doubling the speed and halving the prices of fixed-line broadband services. As things stand currently, it looks like consumers will benefit the most from these measures set out by the 2017 budget. You get double the speed for half the price, and that looks great, but only for the short term. Until we get more information, we should also consider how things might pan out in the long run as well if things continue the way it is.

Firstly, accomplishing the two measures set out by the 2017 Budget could negatively impact the average revenue per user (ARPU) for fixed-line broadband service providers. With lower revenue, less money is going back into the business to invest into network expansion and growth. This could negatively impact the network quality and sustainability in the long run

However, there is also the third aspect to consider — the RM1 billion from the Government that’s set to be invested in ensuring the coverage and quality of broadband nationwide reaches 20Mbps. Right now, we’re not quite sure where that money will be coming from and how it will be distributed which makes it a little difficult to factor into the whole equation.

Ride-sharing services


During the 2017 Budget announcement today, the Prime Minister actually stated that the government will encourage the rakyat — specifically the BR1M recipients and those who have vehicles — to become ride-sharing drivers. According to him, part-time Uber drivers can earn up to RM1,500 monthly with just a maximum of 40 hours per week and RM4,300 monthly for more than 40 hours per week which would go a long way to generate additional income for the household.

Part of their plan to encourage citizens without vehicles to become ride-sharing drivers, he says that they can use the BR1M (which has now been increased to RM1,200 for households earning less than RM3,000 and RM900 for households earning RM3,000 to RM4,000) to make a new car’s down payment. If that new car is a Proton Iriz, a rebate of RM4,000 will be provided as well.

What’s interesting to me is the choice of car. Why an Iriz if you want to encourage people to be an Uber driver? Wouldn’t a sedan like the Proton Saga make more sense? Not only does it have a larger luggage space in the trunk, it’s also significantly cheaper.

And that’s it. What do you guys think of the 2017 Budget? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

For the full text of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s speech, head on over to the PM’s blog.

Industry in General, Mobile Devices, Mobile OS, Others, Players on the Field, Streamyx, Time, TM, UniFi
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36 Comments for Budget 2017 tech highlights


Wohoo!!… Ride Sharing is legal now! Can make extra income!
But we need moar competitors than Uber & Grab.


The devil, as always, is in the execution. Let's hope this will not turn out to be another NATO – no action, talk only


Entry rates for landline broadband should be lowered to below RM100 with min 5Mbps that will surely increase the subscription. What’s purpose of doubling the speed if the B40 group can’t afford min rates of RM149?


Why an Iriz if you want to encourage people to be an Uber driver? Wouldn’t a sedan like the Proton Saga make more sense?

To help cronies P1 to clearance stock on Iriz… another "Black lie" !

orang biasa

To improve the boardband usage or increase subscription, just lower the tax or license fee, then the service provider will give better deal.


Bajet 2017 ni disediakan dengan segala maklumat first hand tentang ekonomi negara, banding dengan bajet alternatif pembangkang yang entah mana punya data dia kutip atau kalau ada data pun, kutip unjuran yang kerajaan BN buat. Tak realistik macam mana pulak?

Sebetulnya ini cara pembangkang tutup kemaluan masing-masing kerana konon mendakwa negara nak bankrap, ekonomi tenat dan segala jadah yang macam itu. Bodoh-bodoh ini semua tak penat nak main politik murahan sehingga yang realistik dikatakan tidak, yang tak masuk akal, itu yang dia nak rakyat percaya.

Negara tidak akan bankrap, dan bajet 2017 ini adalah buktiknya. Berbanding tahun lepas, perbelanjaan tahun ini meningkat sekitar RM 1.7 billion. BR1M naik, peruntukan sektor kesihatan naik, GST tak naik dan pelbagai lagi – bankrup apa macam itu?


Next year's budget sure leaves us with too many question marks.Too many things left unaddressed.

1) By saying that speed will be doubled using an old obsolete 5Mbps UniFi plan, how about those intending to maintain their 5Mbps plan instead? Will price be halved to around RM80 for VIP5 plans? The biggest losers are those still stuck with Streamyx 1Mbps plan?
Free upgrade to 2Mbps at no cost but forced to renew their contracts for another long 2 years?
Hello, it's 2017 still selling 1, 2, 4Mbps plans? Still paying RM110 for something you can't even load a 720p video at all?

2) Those UniFi VIP5 and VIP10 plans are obsolete and new UniFi customers can no longer subscribe them even if their areas were recently covered. Are they going to reintroduce entry level 5,10,15, 20 Mbps plans again next year at much affordable pricing below RM100 per month to encourage take-ups?

3) RM149 for 10Mbps after doubling previous 5Mbps speeds. Isn't this already being offered by Celcom Home Broadband, Maxis and Time with speeds of 100Mbps? Mana ada changes?

Like i said before, the average ARPU that most Malaysians now can afford is no more than RM110. Unless you bring your fixed line charges below that mark, you'll start losing all your customers and don't forget the loong 2 year contracts. Thailand can offer 15Mbps fixed line plans for 590baht since more than 1 year ago, we can't even catch up?

If the points brought forth is not addressed with common sense then all these will only end up with "pusing-belit" talk. It's like telling a long story that ends up back to point of origin with actually no changes made.

Get it?


I just hope that the Ringgit won't be devalued further after next year's handout. From history learned, it happened every year right after the distribution. To good to be true. A word of good advise to all, make sure you convert your available savings to some other safer basket right before the distribution timeline starts.


TM please reconsider the senior citizen, student and lower income groups. There're plenty of accessible blue ocean market here which are exclusive to the fixed line sector. Consider lowering 5Mbps below RM90 and you'll even shake the market up. It just takes very little effort as countries such as Thailand can offer 15Mbps/20Mbps below the RM100 levels.


Here's another way that BR1M handouts should be done. We should emulate some smart ways done by countries such as Macao. To prevent the devaluation of Ringgit which negates the value of our BR1M handouts, the distribution should be given in other currency such as USD denomination but of the same value of our handouts. Meaning USD250 instead of RM1000. Should our Ringgit value erode further, the rakyat still gains further or stand to lose nothing.


because Iriz front part is using a new structure technology which earned himself a five star crash rating if not mistaken, this structure is being implemented into Persona as well…that is why their front look similar…

dark vader

our country internet data package has been over priced. except those who never go to other country and compare. so what u mean good news. even if they double the speed mean not much, since the average speed is always questionable. what the people want or need is cheaper broadband or fiber internet. but those monopoly company like TM never wish to compromise their earning, and our gov follow what they want by just asking them to add speed? the speed is already slow, if you compare the outrage pricing package of Streamyx. 1MB of speed we pay how much? if u double it, mean they give you 2MB (example)? it still make people laugh. so don't say such kind of news is good news.

Not mentioned, those tax thingy will actually REALLY benefit how many? those who really need to take the burden off are those low income, which do not need to pay tax most of them since their earning are not there.

orang biasa

All we write the feedbacks or comments here, did government read it? Everthough we write at his fb, i don’t thing they read or consider it.


My existing broadbed already 30mbps..I don’t need the 2x speed anymore..I need the existing price to be halved instead


Why no teksi driver come out to yelled n protest after the budget?………….sudah dapat dedak ah?.

Why no bombard the PM for calling people to be UBER driver?………….when this bunch of idiot teksi drivers going around damaging UBER drivers vehicle and stopping them in their way.

Why suddenly change of stance and made the announcement in the Budget 2017?.


there's no mention about whether prepaid top-up will be charged GST or not beginning year 2017… anyone has any info?

Derek Law

what many ppl want is basic 5 mps for RM50. No need for HyppTV or free local calls, etc

Just braodband, no need for even Fixed Line rental


Thailand fixed line rates are 30M (RM70), 50M (RM90) & 200M (RM145)
Indonesia Unlimited 4G LTE-A 185Mbps RM65 with 60GB FUP

There is no UniFi plan in Malaysia under RM150 and RM100 markets as of writing. Lowest entry is RM180 now for UniFi Advance 30 with forced HyppTV contract of 1-Year in addition to 2-years service contract.