By Lee Wei Lian
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The government will be launching a RM200 million fund to support the creative content industry, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said today.
Other incentives being proposed and currently under study include tax relief for angel investors in high potential start-ups, and regulatory frameworks to support crowd-sourcing funding for budding technology companies.
Husni said that the new RM200 million fund launching “soon” will be called MyCreative Venture Capital and will provide loans to selected enterprises.
“Malaysia is fostering a new entrepreneurial culture that places high value on innovation and ingenuity,” he said at the Asian Business Angel Forum here.
“We want to create companies of the future, driven by entrepreneurs with new ideas.”
He said that the Creative Industry Loan scheme launched last year received “overwhelming” response and approved RM164 million worth of loans as at April.
The chief executive of state seed capital agency Cradle, Nazrin Hassan, said that new tax incentives modelled after those in the UK were required to encourage more Malaysians to invest in high potential technology start-ups to fill in the gaps left by shrinking numbers of venture capital firms as well as to eventually reduce dependence on government funding.
He said that there were only nine active venture capital firms in Malaysia, where there used to be at least three times as many previously, with more and more switching to private equity.
“The government is looking at reducing dependence on government grants and funds over the medium term,” he said in a press conference here.
Nazrin said that discussions include possibly introducing tax relief for investments in start-ups as well as tax relief on losses incurred.
The chairman of an angel investor group, Bob Chua, said that discussions were underway with the Securities Commission to introduce a framework to regulate crowd-sourcing — where companies source investments from large numbers of investors via the internet.
Malaysia is looking to restructure its economy to become more innovation- and private sector-driven in a bid to become a high income nation.
It has set a target for the private sector to contribute 92 per cent of the country’s total investment.
Bank Negara said yesterday that private investment currently contributes about two thirds, or 64 per cent of total investment.
Husni said today that private investment grew 19.4 per cent last year to RM94 billion.
“We have put in place the foundation for our next economic leap forward,” he said. “Over the next eight years, Malaysia’s economic pie will expand dramatically.”