Poverty database bags an Apicta award

By STEVEN PATRICK intech@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: A detailed, centralised database on poverty in the country (www.ekasih.gov.my) is one of the 17 winners at the 11th MSC Malaysia Asia-Pacific Information and Communications Technology Alliance (Apicta) Awards.

The database, called eKasih-National Databank of Poverty, was built by the Implementation Co-ordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department. It was a result of one year of rigourous census-taking, aided by the Statistics Department.

It won in the Best of e-Inclusion and e-Community category.

Datuk Abdul Ghani Ariffin, deputy director-general of policy co-ordination at the ICU, said that to eradicate poverty, the Government would need detailed information to enable more effective planning.

“You need to know what type of educational background the poor have,” he said, citing an example.

With such information, he said, the Government can help educate and provide the poor with productivity tools, such as sewing machines for housewives.

“It’s not about throwing money at the problem. It’s about determining what kind of assistance the poor need, and sometimes this can be matching their skills with the right jobs,” he said.

The database has details on income levels, education levels and other pertinent information on 66,000 poor and 51,000 hardcore poor households in the country.

The eKasih-National Databank of Poverty follows the International World Bank Poverty standard in terms of classification of poverty levels — households earning less than RM720 are deemed poor while those earning less than RM440 are hardcore poor.

Other winners

Students, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and other organisations had presented ICT products and services for the 17 award categories.

A total of 538 entries were judged by a team of industry movers and shakers from the Government, academia and ICT industry. The entries included e-Learning, e-Health, financial, as well as R&D applications.

The entries were judged on uniqueness, market potential, functionality, features, quality and application of technology.

The total number of entries is up 40% from that last year.

Winners and merit recipients will represent Malaysia at the annual International Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance Awards, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in October.

The 17 local winners will compete against their counterparts in member economies of the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance — Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Macau, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, chief executive officer of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), said the Malaysian winners will be given priority for RM1.5bil in funding provided by Cradle Fund and Green Tech Fund, and for Creative Industry Fund’s RM200mil.

“There are also opportunities for the award winners to be involved in foreign exhibitions and roadshows organised by MDeC. The awards offer exposure to investment opportunities, venture capitalists and investors,” he said.

The theme for this year’s Apicta awards is Stimulating creativity and excellence in ICT.

The history of the MSC Malaysia Apicta awards goes back to 1999 when it was first introduced to showcase the country’s ICT sector. MDeC is guardian of the MSC Malaysia initiative to leapfrog the country’s knowledge economy.

Pikom — the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia — partners with MDeC to organise the Apicta event.

For a full list of the winners, go to www.mscapicta.com.my.

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