We need competent leaders!


LeaderCompetent leader vital for Information, Communications and Culture Ministry  

The candidate should be someone well rounded, well experienced, not too old or too young

FOR some time now, there has been talk on whether culture is a good fit for the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry (MICC). Some believe culture would be better off parked under the Tourism Ministry.

Culture and tourism, to them, are lines out of the same song not quite jiving with communications or information.

Then, there is talk of some areas of duplication between MICC and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti). Both should merge as there are common areas, it has been said.

These ministries aside, some folk have been lobbying that a new ministry, the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Ministry, be set up with the MICC being done away with.

All this talk has resurfaced now that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, fresh off his election win, is busy selecting candidates for his new Cabinet line-up that might be announced in the coming days.

There is certainly some overlap between Mosti and MICC, making sense for them to be merged into one entity. Arts, on the other hand, could be part of the Youth and Sports Ministry or spun off into a new ministry under Arts and Heritage.

It is not an easy decision, but whatever the outcome, one things is for sure Malaysia’s Cabinet should not be bigger than China’s, which has a population of 1.6 billion, as opposed to our 28 million.

Australia and Singapore have gone though the same phase that Malaysia is going through now in terms of merging and segregating its various ministries. In 2001, Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was expanded to include Arts.

Over a decade later, the Arts and Heritage portfolios became a part of the culture ministry. At present, the role of the MCI is to oversee the development of the ICT, media and design sectors, public libraries and the government’s information and public communications policies.

On a similar note, Australia expanded its Communications Ministry to include Arts in 1994. Four years later, the ministry expanded to include information technology (IT).

However, in 2007, Arts became a part of the Environment/Heritage Ministry. The Communications/IT Ministry was renamed as the Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy.

Even the United Nations has a specialised agency to deal with technology in the form of the International Telecommunication Union because the role of the Internet and broadband transcends all boundaries.

The vision of Malaysia’s MICC is to be a pioneer in promoting the 1Malaysia Concept based on national principles to achieve a harmonious and gracious nation. The ministry’s main aspiration is to enhance Malaysia as a global ICT hub in the region, to ensure information from all sources of media is accurate and precise and to preserve and promote Malaysia’s heritage and culture to the world.

Culture preservation is vital in the era of the social media, but once there is widespread awareness, culture can be placed under the Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry, or could even be one of the units under the Prime Minister’s Department or the Tourism Ministry.

There are even suggestions that MICC be part of the Prime Minister’s Department so that it would fall directly under the Prime Minister’s purview. However, whether this is feasible remains to be seen.

Communications and information have become vital because of the digital era, and their role in Malaysia might need to be reviewed. Australia and Singapore felt the “need to change because of the need to redistribute and re-focus its ministerial workload to improve public communications and engagement for an increasingly diverse society in the age of social media and rapid technology progress”.

All this brings us to the next question: Who is best to lead the MICC?

There are many talented people out there, but the industry feels the choice of candidate should encompass someone “well rounded, well experienced, but not too old or too young”. The person, while having sound knowledge of Law and Economics, should also fulfil the most important criterion being savvy enough about the workings of the Internet and the new/social media.

The choice of candidate is important because there is no room for mistakes, unlike the blunders made in the past over spectrum allocation and technology choices. Most importantly, the candidate should not regress but rather, take the nation forward on the digital path.

Friday Reflections – By B.K. Sidhu

Deputy news editor B K Sidhu has some candidates in mind, but they are not politicians.

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Certification for Malaysian IT pros ?


The Register® — Biting the hand that feeds IT

Government seeks BOFH control By Natalie Apostolou

A proposal to introduce a bill to force all IT workers in Malaysia to be certified and registered via a single industry body has sparked agitation in the tech sector.

If the proposed legislation, the Board of Computing Professionals Malaysia Bill 2011 (BCPM), is passed, Malaysia will be the first country with a law which requiring IT professionals to be registered with a board before being allowed to practice.

Under the draft bill any professional registering with the board would have to pass examinations, possess professional experience and pay registration fees.

Those against the law claim that the talent pool may shrink if such stipulations are introduced and fear that the board will have too much control over who can be registered, or certified for lucrative government tenders.

The tech community has released a “Common Voice of ICT Professionals” response to the government proposal, stating that the industry is “alarmed” and “caught most of us off-guard”.

“We have not found any information and substantiation that suggests or concludes that the formation of the Board of Computing Professionals is the right and only answer to amicably resolve all matters that the Government perceive to be issues relating to the ICT profession, if such issues indeed do exist in the first place.”

Also under the draft of the proposed bill, unregistered IT professionals will not be allowed to “practice, carry on business or take up employment which requires him to carry out or perform the services of a Registered Computing Professional”. They are also forbidden from gaining any fees, charges, remuneration or other form of consideration for any professional technology services rendered. ®

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MCA against listing IT pros under a regulatory body

The Star 13/12/2011

MALACCA: MCA has voiced its objection against a proposed move by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to register IT practitioners in the country under a regulatory body known as the Board of Computing Professionals.

Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said it was strongly against the proposed exercise embarked by the ministry.

“We will be made a laughing stock in the global arena if we go ahead with the proposed body. Nowhere else is there such a regulatory body,” he said after attending Kota Melaka 1MCA Medical Foundation dinner here last night.

He said the ministry should first seek feedback from IT practitioners before coming up with such a plan.

“The board is unnecessary because a code of conduct or guideline is more suitable.

“Furthermore, the fact is undeniable that most of the pioneer members of the local IT Industry are not those from IT background. Yet, they were able to soar,” he said, adding that he had expressed MCA’s opposition against the board to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

On another matter, Dr Chua called on Opposition leaders, especially those from PAS, to understand the religions practised by the Chinese community such as Buddhism and Taoism before making baseless comments.

He claimed that PAS leaders had made derogatory remarks during their ceramah, labelling the Chinese as “praying to Datuk Kong and Pai Kong and later may worship King Kong”.

“MCA is willing to provide classes to PAS leaders if they don’t understand the tenets and teaching of other religions,” he said.

New Bill will restrict IT users, says Pua

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to impose bureaucratic control over the information technology (IT) in Malaysia, said DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua.

He said the proposed Computer Professionals Bill (CPB) 2011 would restrict those using IT, despite assurances by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry that there will not be any restrictions on computing services.

He added the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees had promised “unrestricted employment of knowledge workers” and “no censorship of the Internet”.

“The information technology and computing industry has been operating without controversy, issues or impediment for the past decade.

“There is absolutely no bureaucratic requirement to restrict and control the industry, which will only bring adverse outcomes without any corresponding tangible benefit,” Pua said in a statement here yesterday.

IT professionals had raised a stink over the CPB 2011 since a copy of the Bill’s draft was made available online on Thursday.

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 IT folk upset over draft Bill Dec 10, 2011

IT folk upset over draft Bill


Logo of the Ministry Of Science, Technology an...Image via Wikipedia

Many say proposal will cripple industry

By JO TIMBUONG and GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Members of the Information Technology industry are up in arms over a proposed Bill that seeks to certify IT professionals, claiming it will cripple not help the industry.

Industry players said a draft of the Computing Professionals Bill 2011, released online on Thursday night, proposed that only registered IT professionals could create software or computer applications for government use.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) drafted the Bill, with the aim of maintaining a registry of certified IT professionals in the country.

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

The CNII covers, among others, banking and finance, cyber-security, the national defence industry, 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 the full qualification.

But some industry players are arguing that the proposed Bill would in effect hinder innovation and development across the board because CNII was very broad in its scope.

Willie Chan, founder of business software maker xIMnet Malaysia, said anyone should be able to create software or applications, not just certified practitioners or professionals.

“If a doctor who writes code as a hobby comes up with a software that can benefit the health industry, shouldn’t he be allowed to market it to the Government?” he asked.

“If this draft passes into law, it will hinder such cross-pollination of ideas.”

Chan holds a degree in English Literature. Under the drafted Bill, he would be listed as only an IT practitioner, and would not be able to market xIMnet Malaysia solutions to the Government or its agencies.

Daniel CerVentus, co-founder of an online resource portal and community for entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs.my, believes that if such a situation were to develop, it would aggravate the country’s brain-drain problem.

Mosti said the Bill did not aim to regulate the entire computing profession and was only applied to those identified as working in CNII sectors.

It also said registration was not mandatory.

Mosti will be holding an open day at its Putrajaya premises from 9.30am to 5pm on Tuesday to collect feedback and suggestions.

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