Make public all IT and e-commerce studies which had been commissioned to date as the first step in a national consultation process to formulate the K-economy master plan 

Media statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Yesterday, the country was treated to a ceremony on the  signing of a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) for the development of the National K-economy Master Plan between  the Malaysian government and the Institute of Strategic and International  Studies (ISIS) officiated by the Deputy Minister of Finance Datuk Chan Kong Choy.

The first question that comes to mind is whether such a ceremony was needed at all, when what is urgently wanted is the finalisation of a K-economy Master Plan after so much time had been wasted in a most un-IT  manner.

The RM5 million K-economy master plan for Malaysia to make the transition from a P-economy (production-economy) to a K-economy (knowledge-economy)  was first  announced by the Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin when he first presented the 2000 Budget to Parliament on October 29, 1999 - and five precious months have been lost.

As one calender year is equated with five Internet years, this means that we have lost two human years just to begin to start work on a K-economy Masterplan!

Three days ago, the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali said that the e-commerce master plan drawn up by three consultants will soon be presented to the Cabinet.

He said the e-commerce master plan encompasses input for the public as well as the private sector on ways to make it more successful.

The question is whether the e-commerce masterplan mentioned by Halim is the same as the K-economy masterplan, and if so, who are the other two consultants apart from ISIS - and if they are different masterplans, why the overlapping of effort.

In 1997, the National Information Technology Council (NITC) set up three task forces to formulate three strategic initiatives to achieve the National Information Technology Agenda (NITA)  involving the balanced development of three elements namely human resources, infostructure and IT-based applications that are demand driven.

The task force on people development, for instance, recommended an action plan with  the following objectives:

What has happened to these three strategic initiatives in 1997 or will they rehashed into the K-economy Master Plan?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said early this month that the  drawing up of the  K-economy masterplan will be a "whole process of national consultation, brainstorming, drafting and national mobilisation" lasting 18 months.

As a first step to ensure that the formulation of the K-economy Masterplan would involve every sector of society and be relevant to every Malaysian, the government should make public all IT and e-commerce studies which had been commissioned in the country to date, including all the studies which had been commissioned by the National Information Technology Council whether through task forces or other study groups.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman