Govt working on better data access for public

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Decision-making could be made even easier once Malaysians get better access to government data and information when the planned Open Data Exchange Platform is up and running.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said such a platform is already in place in other countries and people with access to those information can know exactly what goes on in the various ministries.

“This makes it easier for the people to operate and make decisions for industry and commercial purposes,” he said after opening the Digital Transformation Asia forum here adding that it would be the first step to digitalising the government.

The platform could also lead to the creation of more meaningful solutions that will benefit Malaysians.

“I can’t say this enough. Data changes lives and saves lives,” he said.

He cited an example where crowd-sourced data from sensors were used to monitor radiation levels from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was destroyed in an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, to reduce the risk to food quality.

“Think of what it can do to our cancer research project and our traffic situation if data was shared,” he said.

Gobind said he plans to bring the suggestion of developing the platform to Cabinet early next year.

“We are in the process of studying it and I will announce the kind of data that will be shared on this platform later.

“We will also make sure that data protection is at the top of the agenda to ensure no data breaches occur,” he said.

In a separate matter, Gobind said the new Bernama CEO would be named pending the government’s decision over the proposed merger between the national news agency and RTM.

He said if a merger does happen between the government-owned news agencies, a team would be formed to carry it through.

“It is something quite large and will involve corporate restructuring and getting a team of people to see it through,” he said, adding that he has come across many different models of such mergers.

He said the Ministry is in the midst of putting up a proposal to the Cabinet and will only decide on Bernama’s CEO once a decision is reached.

He also said he has spoken to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and will meet him soon to discuss the matter.

It was previously speculated that Wan Hamidi Hamid, who was the former editor-in-chief of DAP mouthpiece The Rocket, would replace former Bernama chief Zulkifli Salleh.

However, former culture and information minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim had said that he was not in favour of Wan Hamidi being appointed to the position, claiming that this would politicise the news agency.

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