(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie yesterday announced that the 2002 Malaysian Information and Communications Technology Week (MICT 2002) would be held for five days from Sept. 3, in conjunction with the sixth International Advisory Panel for the Multimedia Super Corridor which would be chaired by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as well as a meeting and forum on e-commerce and telecommunications and the Asian conference on multimedia.
DAP calls for the K-economy Master Plan, which had been completed a year ago, to be released to the Malaysian public to make the MICT next month a meaningful event and not just an extravaganza and an embarrassment.
The government’s belated preparedness to release the K-economy Master Plan is a crucial test as to whether the Malaysian decision-makers and information technology (IT) planners, whether in Cabinet or government, have the mindset to lead Malaysia into the information society.
As I stressed in Parliament more than five years ago, the general rule in an information society is that government information should be accessible by the people because it belongs to the people – a change from the pre-information society philosophy that government information is government property and none of the people’s business.
How can Malaysians stand tall and hold their heads high at the MICT and the sixth International Advisory Panel for the Multimedia Super Corridor, supposed to comprise all the movers and shakers of the international IT scene although many are more distinguished by their absence rather than participation, with a K-economy Master Plan formulated completely without public participation and consultation and kept under wraps under the Official Secrets Act for the past one year?
The least the government should do to mitigate such an international IT embarrassment before the MICT next month is to immediately make public the K-economy Master Plan.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had announced in February 2000 that the K-Economy Master Plan would be the "Strategic Initiative One" to reinvent Malaysian society to grasp the opportunities of the Information Age, that it would be "for the entire nation and for every citizen" and would not be drafted by the best brains behind closed doors because it must be relevant to Malaysians and become a personal master plan for all.
He promised that the formulation of the K-economy Master
Plan would "not be an elitist process but one involving everyone from
the teacher to his pupil, to his fisherman father, to the mechanic, to the
secretary, janitor and the chairman of the board" and that there would be a
18-month “process of national consultation, brainstorming, drafting and
national mobilisation” for the K-economy Master
All these promises have not been fulfilled. Apart from a reference in the Economic Report 2001/2002 tabled in Parliament in October last year to 155 recommendations of the K-economy Master Plan to expedite the development towards K-based economy, Malaysia has the dubious distinction of being the first country in the world where its K-economy Master Plan is a secret document classified under the Official Secrets Act – which does not augur well for Malaysia’s IT future or Multimedia Super Corridor.