More money, more problems?
At the time of writing, the Malaysian Budget 2019 / Belanjawan Negara 2019 is currently being presented and tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. Two particular contents of the Budget has caught the attention of many Malaysians, directly/indirectly affecting those who are gamers and/or heavy user of digital entertainment services.
- The Malaysian Government will allocate funds of RM20 million EACH via MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) to support and develop both the local esports and digital content industries in 2020.
- RM20 million for esports
- RM20 million to promote digital content creation
- They will also be allocating funds to the following:
- RM25 million to promote more digital application pilot projects utilising fibre optic and 5G infrastructure.
- Every Malaysian (who are 18 years of age and above and earn less than RM100,000 a year) will receive RM30 e-wallet credit in an effort to get Malaysians to familiarize themselves with making digital payments through e-wallets.
The RM30 will be credited on 1 January 2020 and will be valid for two months from that date. Khazanah Nasional has been given RM450 million for this.
While it’s great that the Government is once again supporting the local esports industry by allocating more funds (RM20 million), the state of esports in Malaysia is pretty much the same now as it was a year ago, which begs the question; where exactly did that RM10 million go into?
If the Government truly wants to develop esports in Malaysia, they will need to be more transparent in where to funnel the allocated funds into. The money should primarily be used to support the local grassroots community, especially those (semi-professional and professional esports athletes) in need of financial support.
What should be applauded is that the Malaysian Government is finally realising the importance of the games industry and to promote the creation of digital content. This will probably include a wide range of products, from animation to video games.
RM20 million will go a long way to supporting the many local game developers in Malaysia, especially those who are struggling with the hardships of game developing and publishing. We have already begun to see the fruits of this labour from companies like Metronomik’s No Straight Roads and Magnus Game Studio’s Re:Legend.