In his interview over RTM's TV1 last night on the Multimedia Super Corridor, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed said he was not satisfied with the level of computer use in Malaysia, but compared to other developing countries Malaysia was "advanced".
If Malaysia is serious in wanting to make the quantum leap into the Digital Era and achieve the aim of making Malaysia an international Information Technology (IT) hub through the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), then it is not adequate for Malaysia to be "advanced" as compared to other developing countries in computer literacy, but we must attain the level comparable to the developed countries as well.
The 1996 Global Competitiveness Report ranks Malaysia 28th in the world in computer literacy among workers, while it puts Norway first and Singapore second.
The Global Competitiveness Report ranking of computer literacy among workers are as follows:
In its survey of "Computers per capita" for 1995, the Global Competitiveness Report ranked Malaysia in the 26th place, with the United States, Australia, Canada, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland and Singapore occupying the first 10 positions.
In keeping with the MSC initiative, the country should launch nation-wide campaign to place Malaysia among the world's first top 10 nations in computer literacy - not only in workplace, but in homes and among the general population, by the year 2005.
In his interview, Mahathir said Malaysians above 40 years old have a fear of computers and the Information Technology. This "technophobia" among Malaysians above 40 must be conquered, and this is why there is an urgent need for a nation-wide campaign to educate the people that IT and computers are nothing to be afraid of, and that IT brings benefits not just for the few but for all in improving the quality of life of people at home, in learning and at work.