Abdullah Badawi should focus on the urgent need to have a "smart" immigration policy to make a success of Malaysia’s national IT policy  before he opens more IT conferences 

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri  Abdullah Ahmad Badawi opened the Second Global Knowledge Conference (GKII) and declared that developing countries must "continue to invest in education, human resource development as  well as research and development if we   are to stand and be counted in this  increasingly competitive world".

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 today:

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?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman