by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, September 10, 1995:
Malaysia needs an Information Minister who has the proper order of priority about Internet to develop a National Information Instructure (NII)
The Minister of Information. Datuk Mohamad Rahmat seems to have added a new subject to his Information Ministry portfor-lio – Internet. However, he seems to have his perceptions and priority on the Internet all wrong.
Malaysia needs an Information Minister who has the proper order of priority about Internet to develop a National Information Instruscture (NII) instead of only having visceral feelings about the internet because he had been attacked on Internet newsgroups for imprudent statements.
After his statement in Michigan announcing government plans to censor the Internet in Malaysia because of abuses, Mohamad Rahmat has been the subject of Internet discussion groups on Malaysia – all one-sidenly in his disfavour.
This may be the reason for his second statement on Internet in three days – this time, announcing that the government is closely monitoring the activities of some students abroad who are spreading disinformation on Malaysia through the Internet.
He stressed that with more than 30 million people worldwide having access to the Information Superhighway, it was imperative that the Government look into ways of curbing the misuse of the Internet.
What is most unworthy of Mohamed Rahmat is his attempt to play politics by alleging that opposition parties might be behind some of these discussion groups.
There are indeed abuses on the Internet which needs study and consideration, but the top priority of the government should be to develop a National Information Infrastructure (NII) which will become a seamless web of communications networks, computers, databases, and consumer, electronics that will put vast amounts of information at user’s fingertips.
Such a NII should provide access to government information where the federal agencies, in concert with state and local governments, use the NII to expand the information available to the public, ensuring that the immense reservoir of equitably.
Mohamad Rahmat may be angry that 30 million or even 50 million people worldwide who have access to Internet could read about the unflattering comments about him on the Internet newsgroups, turning him into a one-man Don Quixote tilting against the windmills of Internet.
There is no reason however for the Government to follow Mohamad Rahman’s whims when the primary focus should be on the more important issues of developing a National Information Infrastructure which is comparable to those of developed nations which Malaysia wants to join under Vision 2020.