He said that "deification of the market with no regard for social and human development will not yield a thriving global knowledge community" and would instead "produce a cyberelite alliance of technopreneurs and western-dominated international financial institutions with a mass of nations left behind permanently".
However for developing countries to survive, he said they must not merely point their fingers at the global economic system but shoulder the responsibility of building more competitive and resilient economies.
While government leaders continue to give high-sounding speeches at international IT (Information Technology) conferences held in the country, government policies continue to lag behind the visions painted in these speeches.
May be, Abdullah Badawi would do more good for Malaysia for Malaysia’s IT development and future if he could focus on the urgent need to have "smart" government policies, like a "smart" immigration policy before he opens more IT conferences.
There is still no response either from Abdullah or the Immigration Department on my call in the past three days on the need for Malaysia to have a "smart" immigration policy which recognises that humanware is more important than hardware or even software, and the need to end discriminatory and sexist immigration policies such as the unfair treatment of Chinese national wives of Malaysians who are only allowed to meet and stay with their husband in Malaysia two weeks in a year.
The response of the government to the call for a "smart" immigration
policy will greatly influence the success of the government’s Multimedia
Super Corridor programme, as reflected in the following email I received
"I am a US citizen married to a Malaysian wife. I work in the high-tech industry as a software engineer. I have 10 years experience, and have worked at companies such as Microsoft and Intel. For a long time, it has been the dream of my wife and I to live and work in Malaysia. To this end, I have learnt Malay, Mandarin, and some Cantonese.
"I fully realize and understand that the Malaysian immigration policy grants work permits and permanent residency as a privilege, and are in no way guaranteed or promised.
"I consider, though, the state of the world's high-tech industry: The United States is currently the world leader in computer technology, high-tech work opportunities and compensation. In fact the need is so dire and threatening to the US high-tech economy, that they are changing immigration policy to pull a greater number of foreign workers into the US. In essence, stealing talent away from countries such as Malaysia, where the lack of high-tech knowledge workers is crippling.
"I would love nothing more than to contribute to Malaysia's high-tech work force, and share my decade of software engineering knowledge with Malaysians. I can't think of a better win-win situation: for Malaysia to gain from my skills and experience in a much needed area and for me to have the chance to experience a beautiful and diverse country and culture. However, when I see actions by the Malaysian immigration department, such as you described in your statement, it makes me wonder if such will ever come to pass."
Is Abdullah, as Home Minister, aware that one of the factors determining the success of Multimedia Super Corridor is whether the government is flexible and nimble enough to respond to the challenges of a fast-changing world wrought by IT as to have a "smart" immigration policy that acts as a magnet to attract and not to repel talents and humanware, both local and foreign?
Or will these statements and emails be completely lost on the Home Ministry and Immigration Department because they just lack the IT antennae to tune in to the needs of an IT era?