Friday, July 13, 2007

Malaysian Government Upgrading Websites

This is what I call a coincidence. I was just talking about this issue with a friend yesterday. He was complaining to me that he had problems using the MOSTI website. Then, we went on to discuss a little about the state of Malaysian government websites. Now, I read about this development in TheStar.

It was obvious that our government websites were not up to par and would not provide visitors with an accurate impression of the state of technology in Malaysia. For a country that wishes to lead the region into a technology driven future, this is just bad marketing. So, I mentioned that we could possibly get interns to fix their websites, as I suggested in an earlier blog. My friend suggested that this may not be a good idea as the interns may not be up to the job, which was true. He then suggested that we should outsource the websites to some foreign company. I disagreed as I know that some local bumi companies can get the job done.

Today, the government announced that Skali has been selected to revamp 450 government websites. It's all part of a larger programme that includes training 4,000 unemployed graduates and producing at least 400 entrepreneurs. Now, this is a fairly interesting development, and I will explain why.

First, I don't think that it's a good idea to give such a large contract to a single entity (i.e. all the eggs in one basket). A smarter move would be to spread out the 450 websites among 2 or 3 different companies. This would encourage competition between the companies to produce quality work. However, this is Malaysia and we do not believe in competition. The government cannot possibly believe that using a single company would result in better integration. Websites these days are all standards based and millions of websites can all be integrated as long as they stick to standards.

Second, training 4,000 unemployed graduates through this programme is curious. I wonder if this training involves assigning 10 trainees to develop each website. Although it is a useful idea (since I'd actually suggested something similar), I'm not quite sure if there will be enough jobs to go around for 4,000 fresh web designers. Then, I noticed that they are also churning out 400 entrepreneurs. So, maybe that's the plan. The programme will start up a new company for each website, with 1 CEO and 10 web designers to build and manage each website. Keep in mind that this is pure speculation but the numbers are just too much of a coincidence for me.

I certainly hope that this isn't the real plan. It isn't viable.

PS: Uh-oh. I love Skali's concept of local out-sourcing. It can be interpreted in soooo many ways.

*** Image from Skali website. They own the copyright to it. ***

No comments: