Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Boosting our Nation's ICT Industry - Pak Lah's Way!

It's Technology Tuesday and I have something to say about our Government's measures to boost our ICT industry based on what was reported in TheStar today. According to the article, "the country's information communication technology industry has been given another boost with the launch of four new initiatives to enable Malaysia to compete in the global technology-led environment". I would like to say, that is an exaggeration.

Let us first list out the four new initiatives: The Malaysia Animation Creative Content Centre, CyberSecurity Malaysia, KnowledgeGRID Malaysia and eContent Fund Awards. To anyone who has been following the local ICT industry, we will know that there is nothing new here, except for the names. According to the article:

  1. The setting-up of the Malaysia Animation Creative Content Centre is aimed at accelerating the development of the local digital content industry, which has seen exceptional growth and demand over recent years. -- Remember the e-Village launched by Tun Dr M during his time as our PM, anyone?
  2. CyberSecurity Malaysia is the result of the rebranding of the National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre, to reflect the services and solutions the organisation provides for its clients and the public. -- Well, the article readily admits that it is a simple re-branding of NISER.
  3. KnowledgeGRID is for providing a national infrastructure that maximises high performance computing resources to accelerate research and industrial development. -- Can anyone say MYREN?
  4. The eContent Fund Awards are aimed at enhancing the nation's content development industry, mainly for entertainment, training and learning, as well as culture and heritage. -- Now, this took me a while to recall the old name (t'was too long ago): DAGS!
Way to go, Pak Lah! Calling something by a new name doesn't make it a new initiative. The Government has not had any new ICT initiatives ever since we had a change of PM. Our country decided to go vegan and focus on agricultural bio-technology. I can't really blame the Government as they seem to be having troubles understanding and coming to terms with technology. The also don't realise that ICT is the key driver of bio-technology.

If they want to improve our nation's ICT industry, they should really encourage the proliferation of broadband instead of curtailing it's deployment. They should revamp our nation's education syllabus to be more science, math and ICT centric. Gone were the days when we tried to be the ICT power house of South East Asia. Our MSC is virtually a dead project. Now, opportunities are increasingly going to Vietnam.

PS: It doesn't reflect well when the domain name for our National IT Council, is no longer owned by our Government but is currently being parked by a squatter!

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