DOE should restore the website providing daily API readings since 1997  which it discontinued in 1998

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Sunday): Official  websites have become a bad advertisement as to how unprepared is the government to take the country into the information society and knowledge economy.

It is no use having all the state-of-the art IT-skills and technologies if government officials and leaders do not have the prerequisite  IT mindset and culture necessary if Malaysia is to make  the quantum leap into the information age.

The Parliament homepage, for instance, has been a standing joke as receipient of the "worst Commonwealth Parliament website" award.

Until the last general election, the Parliament homepage was at least responsive to criticisms - but it is now totally immune to change.

Before the reconvening of Parliament last Monday, I had criticised the Parliamentary website for being as "jurassic as ever " in providing  no information on the parliamentary business for the forthcoming Parliamentary meeting.

I said: "It is  a heart-breaking exercise trying to track official websites, as they show an abysmal absence of IT and K mentality and mind-set, which cannot augur well for Malaysia’s ambition to become an IT superpower or a K-economy."

The jurassic parliament website, however, was not an isolated case of the IT desert in officialdom.  I pointed out that the ACA website was another example, as anyone trying to reach the ACA online would be  led on  a fruitless wild goose’s chase.

More than a week had passed since my criticism of the "cobwebsites" of Parliament and the ACA, but a check this morning showed that there had been no improvement or updating whatsoever, as if Parliament and the ACA have lost their IT officials at the same time.

There is now complaint that the website of the Department of Environment (DOE) has not been updated to be a source of authoritative information on the return of the haze.

The Sun reported that the DOE website has become "the  subject of a joke" by callers who claim that the DOE was trying to fool the public by hiding the truth about air quality.

The DOE is in the Ministry of Science, Environment and Technology and it is a crying shame if  one of its websites ends up as another "cobwebsite".

The Minister for Science, Environment and Technology, Datuk Law Hieng Ding should  take immediate steps to direct the DOE not only to update its homepage several times a day, but to restore the website providing daily API readings since 1997  which it discontinued in 1998.

If the Malaysian government is serious in wanting Malaysia to enter the information age, then it must first of all respect the right to information as a fundamental human right - including the right to know API readings with the return of the haze.

The Human Rights Commission should take cognizance of this problem and uphold the right to information of Malaysians with regard to API readings.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman