The scandal of the four-year  Parliamentary "dinosaur" homepage should be a wake-up call for Parliament, Government and nation to address the Achillesí Heel of the National IT Vision and Strategy and save the MSC

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): I commend Parliament for its swift response to my media statement yesterday calling for the removal of  the Parliamentary website, http://www.parlimen.gov.my, as it had become a real national disgrace and should be taken down before more damage is done to Parliament and the countryís IT image.

For some four years, the image projected by the parliament homepage was that Malaysia cannot succeed in its National Information Technology (IT) agenda to take the quantum leap into the information age when the Malaysian Parliament,  highest pinnacle of the political system in the country, is no better than a dinosaur in the era of Information Technology (IT)!

Before my media statement was issued yesterday, there was an attempt to defend the Parliament homepage, claiming that it had finally been updated "on Thursday, about three months after the new Parliament was formed".

The last update of the Parliament homepage was in fact more than five months ago on Oct. 15, 1999 - which I had described as "an unpardonable sin" at the "Dinner with BA MPs" in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday.

The Starís report today "Dewan Rakyatís homepage finally updated" quoted the Speaker, Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail as attributing the failure to update the Parliament homepage to "oversight".

If "oversight" could be accepted as an excuse for the failure to update the Parliament homepage for over five months , when it  should be updated every day when there is a parliamentary meeting, Malaysia is going to  be left behind by the Information Technology revolution!

The tragic fact is that the updating of the Parliament homepage after my public criticism on Wednesday night was still not good enough, and this was why I had issued a media statement yesterday that the "Parliamentary homepage should be taken down immediately, the IT webmaster sacked and IT section closed as the Parliamentary homepage  is presently doing  more harm with its antideluvian presence on the Internet".

The so-called "updated" Parliamentary homepage could not even list the newly-elected MPs for the tenth Parliament and continue to be the most user-unfriendly website of all Parliamentary websites and probably will win the top prize if there is a contest for the most user-hostile website in Malaysia!

Furthermore, the Parliamentary update was dishonest, claiming that it was last updated on March 14, 2000 when it was done only after my public criticism on March 22, 2000.

There is not much point for the national leaders to talk about K-economy masterplan or E-commerce blueprints when Malaysia is afflicted with the  serious and prevalent IT disease where there is a total absence of IT mind-set and culture although there is no lack of IT technology.

Websites are put up by Parliament and government departments not to devise new ways of communications in the IT era, providing for instantaneous interactive  two-way transmission of information,  but just to show that they are not left behind in IT although their mindset is to conceal rather than to share information.

Now that the Parliamentary homepage has been removed, Parliament should give top priority to relaunch it  so as to  be a credit to Parliament and the national IT image, and I am prepared to give full assistance and advice for the development of a Parliamentary homepage format which would rank it as one of the best and most user-friendly Parliamentary websites in the world.

The significance of the scandal of the Parliamentary "dinosaur" homepage extends beyond the perimeter of  Parliament House, as it highlights the Achillesí Heel in  Malaysiaís IT Vision - the fatal lack of IT culture and mindset among the top leadership in the country.

This is an email  which I have received to a recent paper I gave on "IT and Governance" which discusses the gravity of such an IT Achillesí Heel in Malaysia:
 

The scandal of the four-year  Parliamentary "dinosaur" homepage should be a wake-up call for Parliament, Government and nation to address the Achillesí Heel of the National IT Vision and Strategy and save the MSC
 

(26/3/2000)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman