(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Sixth International Advisory Panel for the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) meeting in Cyberjaya next week should diagnose the reasons why the MSC is not only losing out to similar initiatives in Singapore and Hong Kong, but also to the Dubai Internet City which is less than two years old and recommend solutions.
A recent study sponsored by Parti Gerakan had shown that the MSC is perceived by the Malaysian ICT industry as below par compared to similar initiatives in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai and that the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) which was established to play the catalytic and co-ordinator role to develop the MSC had performed below expectations, undermining investor confidence in the MSC.
The study had very adverse findings on the competencies of the MDC, whether in terms of “timely and speedy execution”, the availability and quality of K-workers, ease of hiring of foreign K-workers, education and training, to the extent that “MSC run the risk of being marginalized if it continues with the present way”.
When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced the MSC in August 1995, it was conceived as the centrepiece of the national IT strategy to “leapfrog Malaysia into the Information Age”.
The objective was to achieve world status in multimedia industries within five years through carefully-planned strategies and urgent action, thereby transforming Malaysia into a knowledge-based society and harnessing the power of information as a springboard for socio-economic advancement.
These “five years” have come and gone but there has been no “leapfrogging into the Information Age”.
The Sixth MSC International Advisory Panel meeting next week is a timely occasion to re-evaluate not only the successes and failures of the MSC, but also the seven national flagship applications of e-government, smart schools, smart card, telemedicine, electronic commerce, R&D cluster and worldwide manufacturing webs.
There is a huge gap between MSC claims and reality – and e-government is one good example, as seven years after the announcement of e-government as one of the seven national flagship applications, the country is still without any clear vision, priorities and political will for e-government, let alone a roadmap for e-government for Malaysia.
The time has come for a full public debate about the development and future of the MSC, the National IT strategy and agenda and the K-economy Master Plan which has yet to be made public although it had been completed for more than a year.