Pikom says did not initiate Computing Professionals Bill


By GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) said it was invited by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) as one of 17 stakeholders to provide comments and input to the proposed Computing Professionals Bill (CPB).

“We would like to make it clear that Pikom did not champion the proposed Board of Computing Professionals Bill 2011,” said Pikom president, Shaifubahrim Saleh in a statement.

He added that while Pikom sees the proposed Bill as a move to enhance the industry’s professionalism, it is also concerned with the Bill’s scope, approach and implementation.

The industry body will be polling its 1,400-strong membership to gauge sentiments and collect feedback on the proposed Bill.

The statement comes days after IT professionals expressed their opposition to the Bill during the Dec 13 open day session held at Mosti’s Putrajaya office to gather feedback.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili, has stressed that his ministry is only the “facilitator” of the Computing Professionals Bill.

“The idea came from the industry players and we are just the facilitating the process,” he said during a press conference on Dec 14 to clarify Mosti’s position.

The mentioned stakeholders comprise IT graduates, academia, SME and SMI, multinational corporations, and self-taught IT professionals.

The draft Bill seeks to legalise the formation of a Board of Computing Professionals to oversee the registration of IT professionals in this country.

It is a bid to ensure that only qualified professionals can work in the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) sectors.

Among the sectors in the CNII are banking and finance, cyber-security, national defence, healthcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, and utilities.

The Bill will recognise two categories of IT talents — certified IT practitioners who do not have formal qualifications, and certified IT professionals who have full qualifications.

The draft of the Bill was released on the Internet on Dec 8 but so far no one has admitted to posting the 56-page document online.

Since then, the proposed Bill has come under a firestorm of criticism from the local IT community, with concerns ranging from the lack of consultation with the wider community to the hindrance of innovation and development the Bill would have across the board upon its implementation.

Many have called for the proposed Bill to be scrapped entirely, questioning the need for a law rather than industry-led initiatives to improve quality and standards of its practitioners.

Ongkili stated during the press conference that if the industry was collectively against the Bill, Mosti would move to scrap it.

“If they are not keen, it is entirely up to them to decide and as for us, we will have less work,” he told reporters present.

Ongkili said since industry players had brought up their concerns, the onus was on them to assist the ministry in drafting the law and setting up the board.

“It will be up to the industry to decide the composition of the board, the extent of its powers and other related matters. The board will then define the realm to be regulated and they can tailor it to their requirements,” he said.

Ongkili has also expressed hope that a draft of the Bill could still be ready by the middle of next year, with consultations slated to continue with more stakeholder groups to be engaged.

“I think six months is sufficient for this. We will weigh all views and comments and hopefully a final decision can be made then,” he said.

The 30-day feedback period on the draft Bill is ongoing and interested parties have been urged to e-mail their suggestions and concerns to bcpm@mosti.gov.my by January 15 2012.

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