7 September, 2009

National IT Council Meeting


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh dan salam sejahtera.

Y.A.B. Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Mohd. Yassin
Timbalan Perdana Menteri

Y.Bhg. Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato’-Dato’, Datin- Datin, Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan, hadirin sekalian.

Distinguished council members,

1. I understand that this time we have trisectoral representations in the Council comprising members from the public, private and community- interest sectors. Forging a trisectoral smart partnership is important to enable the participation and inclusion of all sectors in policy planning and decision making to build consensus and create a conducive environment for the growth and development of the knowledge-based economy.

3. We have long recognised that Malaysia’s future development and empowerment depends to a crucial extent upon its willingness and capacity to embrace to the fullest, the opportunities and advantages promised by communication and multimedia technology. Hence the various policies and programmes designed not only to bring the country fully into the cyber age, but also to be the hub of multimedia development.

4. We must at the same time be fully aware of the many fresh and unprecedented challenges that this technology poses to Malaysia’s sovereignty or the sovereignty of any other country for that matter. To be blind to these challenges would be na├»ve, to ignore them, as to ignore some of the ill-effects of globalization, can be extremely damaging to the well-being of the nation.

5. The threats and the vulnerabilities are felt by all nations, including the wealthiest and the most advanced. They are felt most keenly however, among the nations which are not technologically or economically advanced.

6. The response to this reality obviously cannot be one of turning our backs to modern communication and multimedia technology. This will only serve to disempower and impoverish the country. We must be propelled not by a culture of fear but one of opportunity. Malaysia therefore must do what other nations, including all the advanced nations of the world, are doing, that is, to be aware of the opportunities as well as the pitfalls. We must embrace and develop technologies as well as innovate while at the same time ensure that this is done in a manner which is maximally beneficial and minimally harmful to the nation’s sovereignty and vital interests. Above all we must have in place the necessary legal framework to accommodate the various legal challenges that arise in the cyber environment. I believe the second and third papers in today’s meeting deal with this matter and I hope we will have a meaningful discussion after the presentations.

Ladies And Gentlemen

7. Another issue that confronts us is the digital divide issue in which is real and growing, and has profound implications. It is not just an issue of equitable access to technology and gap between the info-rich and info-poor but also covers the literacy and basic skills, localised content, the development of self-managed communities and empowering society by providing opportunities to use ICT.

8. Despite remarkable progress made during the 9th Malaysia Plan, more efforts will need to be placed in the next Plan to increase access and adoption of ICT within the communities leading towards greater value creation. We need to identify the relevant parties involved in Bridging the Digital Divide programmes to focus on specific needs of target groups and enable replication of successful programmes at the national level. We also need to ensure greater coordination will be garnered amongst network applications and access to infrastructure programmes for cost effectiveness and attractive value propositions to the communities. We will have the opportunity to discuss this after the presentation of paper 5 on this subject, and I think the input of all council members is important in charting our course forward towards bridging the digital divide.

Ladies and gentlemen,

9. While the trisectoral approach in the NITC allows for wider consultation and better representation of views in the decision making process, we must also be mindful of the fact that all deliberations during the meeting are confidential and that the NITC is very much a think-tank or an advisory body to the government in the formulation of policies and strategies for the development of ICT in the country. Recommendations of the NITC and proposed undertakings will therefore be escalated to the Cabinet for decision. Finally, for the information of the Council, to facilitate open communications and knowledge-sharing, I’m told that a specific NITC interactive portal has been created and we will be launching this portal at the end of this meeting.

10. With this note, I conclude my opening remarks and I call upon the Secretariat to continue with the matters on the agenda.

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