KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of the National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative will be intensified next year with the provision of RM700 million to continue digital connectivity efforts in 47 industrial areas and 30 schools, especially in rural areas.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the government would also allocate RM30 million for internet facilities in 40 existing People's Housing Projects (PPR) to ensure that PPR residents were not left behind.

In addition, 5G services will also be expanded next year to 36 per cent of high-density areas including in major towns and cities in Johor, Selangor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak.

"The provision of 5G services will chart a new technology landscape and offer better and faster user experience as well as bridge the digital divide and create new job opportunities," he said when presenting the 2022 budget themed "Keluarga Malaysia, Makmur Sejahtera" (A Prosperous Malaysian Family).

To increase digital adoption among microenterprises, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the government will increase allocations under the SME Digitilisation Grant Scheme to RM200 million with RM50 million earmarked for Bumiputera micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas.

Tengku Zafrul said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) would also transform the 600 Keluarga Malaysia Digital Economy Centres into one-stop centres to guide micro-entrepreneurs in the use of digital technology.

He said the government would also introduce the Malaysia Digital Nomad programme to create a digital nomadic community and ecosystem in the country by using the tourism sector as a catalyst.

"Digital nomads are those who generate income online without a fixed physical location. This group has the potential to contribute to the national economy, especially as tourists," he said.