Revitalising Affected Sectors

National Economic Recovery Plan
Chapter 7


Information Technology and the Multimedia Super Corridor

The role of IT in improving efficiency and effectiveness in business, public sector and among the citizens is now an integral part of the countryís development strategy. IT use has accelerated in the last few years in communication, information and recreation and business activities. Several national level initiatives have come on-stream under the aegis of the National IT Agenda. These include the National IT Campaign, development of appropriate infostructure, human resource development and formulation of relevant cyber laws.

The most important milestone of the IT development programme is the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). The MSC will provide the catalyst for the synergistic expansion of related IT industries/products and create the enabling environment for orderly development of IT in the country. The MSC has led to the emergence of new service-based industry clusters, including software development, telecommunications, animation, production and broadcasting, provision of on-line services, education and training, R&D, and networks and broadband applications. In order to promote the MSC, several flagship applications have been identified such as Electronic Government, smart schools, multipurpose card and telemedicine. The flagship applications for multimedia environment development are R&D clusters, worldwide manufacturing webs and borderless marketing.

Despite the economic slowdown, the pace of growth in the IT industry has been sustained in view of the strategic importance of IT raising efficiency and competitiveness. There are, however, several areas of concern that must be addressed:

  1. Although there is a high level of IT utilisation in the private sector, IT is mainly used in non-strategic activities, particularly administrative functions like accounting, financial management, payroll and transaction processing. IT usage must be based on best IT practices. It is recommended that the National Productivity Corporation (NPC) accelerates its programme in establishing a resource centre for IT-related information as well as spearhead the programme to spread awareness of best IT practices.

  2. IT can be an enabling tool for manufacturing firms to enhance efficiency, raise quality of their products and services, and thereby compete globally. IT could also enable these firms to achieve the manufacturing++ strategy. But manufacturing firms, especially locally-owned firms, are yet to fully appreciate the benefits of IT. Local firms have not taken full advantage of the fiscal and other incentives offered by the Government to accelerate the use of IT. NPC and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers should be required to encourage manufacturing firms to adopt advanced systems such as computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing and computer-aided process planning and manufacturing resources planning.

  3. The convergence of computing, telecommunications and multimedia technologies has resulted in E-commerce, which is expected to expand globally. A comprehensive study should be done to assess the countryís readiness for E-commerce. The private sector on its part should be proactive and be effectively involved in E-commerce.

  4. At the household level, the IT penetration level is still low at 5 per cent and with limited use of computer facilities. The Government should intensify efforts to promote public awareness of the benefits of computers and the range of intelligent uses of computers besides Internet.

The expansion in the usage of IT in the country is being promoted in a coordinated manner through the National IT Council. The main thrusts of the IT programme will consist of the following:

  1. Wider diffusion and application of IT within and across sectors to stimulate productivity and competitiveness as well as improve the quality of life.

  2. Promote the development of the local IT industry, especially software to generate new growth opportunities as well as skills and employment in high-tech areas.

  3. Expand IT education and training in line with the anticipated demand for IT-related skills, knowledge and expertise.

  4. Put in place the relevant cyberlaws to ensure orderly development of IT.

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