Govt agencies save RM188mil by going open source

KUALA LUMPUR: Almost all government agencies have adopted open-source software (OSS), resulting in a total cost savings of RM188mil on software licensing fees over the past six years, according to the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu).

Datuk Mohamad Zabidi Zainal, Mampu director-general, said 691 public sector agencies (97%) have embraced open-source technologies since the Public Sector Open Source Software Master Plan was implemented in 2004.

“This represents a more than 25-fold increase in government agencies using open-source software,” he said at the second annual MSC Malaysia Open Source Conference 2010 here.

Mampu is the central agency under the Prime Minister’s Department tasked with increasing the efficiency of the Malaysian public service.

Mohamad Zabidi noted that more than half of the 4,000 ICT (information and communications technology) vendors registered with the Finance Ministry now provide OSS services. “There was none before the Public Sector OSS Master Plan kicked in,” he said.

The open-source software in use by the government agencies include server and desktop PC operating systems, all sorts of office productivity software, as well as anti-spam and network security solutions.

System support and maintenance are done in-house, according to Mampu, which resulted in lower expenses for those services.

The plan had been launched by the Government to drive OSS adoption among its agencies.

Under the plan, Mampu had been tasked with establishing an Open Source Competency Centre, which was to be a single point of reference to guide, facilitate, co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of OSS in the public sector.

Mampu has trained more than 5,000 government personnel at the centre to date, The public sector has about one million employees, which includes policemen, soldiers and teachers, said Mampu.

The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), which is guardian of the country’s MSC Malaysia initiative, said its companies in the open-source sector generated about RM595mil in local revenue and RM234mil in export revenue last year.

Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, MDeC chief executive officer, said the companies have been achieving double-digit growth over the past few years and will continue to be successful.

The conference is a three-day event featuring talks, tutorials and product demonstrations. It is organised by MDeC, Mampu and the Open Source Developers Club of Malaysia.

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