KUALA LUMPUR: Gaps in the implementation of policies to develop the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and the ICT sector as a whole must be filled to ensure future success, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
Delivering the keynote address at the MSC ICT Policy Summit here yesterday, Abdullah said that while Malaysians could take great pride in the achievements of the MSC so far, there have been occasions when the MSC has perhaps not met with the expectations of some international and local industry participants.
He added that the problem was often found to be in the implementation of Malaysia's ICT (Information and Communications Technology) policies, not the policies per se.
Such gaps may cause certain shortfall in the delivery of promised infra- and info-structure, in the adequacy of human resources, (and) in funding, said Abdullah.
He added that it was imperative to close the gaps firmly and swiftly to ensure that the country's MSC aspirations were realised.
Abdullah said that the gap in the so-called digital divide was a very pressing concern, as there was evidence that the divide between the information haves and the have-nots in Malaysia was growing.
While the economic and social benefits of ICT are many, its benefits can only accrue if people are plugged into the system, he said.
He added that without proper remedial steps, the digital divide would contribute to the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.
Abdullah also cited major grouses over knowledge workers in Malaysia, which he said included their low levels of advanced technical skills, poor command of English, and the expectation of high salaries.
He said that there were also gaps in the technology funding and business incubation environment, especially between the needs of local industry participants and the facilities and programmes offered.
I have been made aware of certain unfulfilled expectations of local technopreneurs (in these areas), he said.
He added that the funding issue was being addressed with the introduction of a pre-seed Cradle Investment Programme by Government-owned Malaysian Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap), and expressed his hope that business incubators would provide more help to start-up companies and move away from being glorified landlords.
He said the development of a knowledge society and the attainment of a developed nation status rested on our ability to take a long, hard, critical look at our strengths and weaknesses and to make up whatever shortfalls there may be.
If there are gaps in our knowledge and understanding, it is time to re-educate ourselves, he added. If there are gaps in our implementation processes, it is time to identify and redress them.