Call on Anwar Ibrahim to introduce a IT budget next month to encourage Malaysians to be in the frontline of information technology revolution

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 20th September 1995:

Call on Anwar Ibrahim to introduce a IT budget next month to encourage Malaysians to be in the frontline of information technology revolution

DAP calls on the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to introduce an IT (Information Technology) budget in Parliament next month to encourage Malaysians to be in the front¬line of information technology revolution.

As of early September, there around 7,500 Jaring subscriber, who have access to Internet. Although this is a big increase compared to 210 subscribers at the end of 1993, 1,330 subscribers at the end of last year, Malaysia is still lagging behind other developed countries in the number of Internet users.

All over the world there is an explosion of Internet users and Malaysia will be no exception. Jaring expects its present number of 7,000 subscribers to explode to 100,000 by the end of next year.

Malaysians must not be left behind in this Information Technology revolution, and must get onto the Internet with¬out any delay by the end of the next year.

In fact I believe that having 100,000 Internet users by the end of next year is too modest a target let if Malaysia is serious in wanting to develop Malaysia to a developed nation under Vision 2020.

The excuse of remoteness given by some Malaysians for not being on the Internet is not acceptable, for the IT revolu¬tion has wiped out geographical barriers and geography is no longer a in a world of interconnected high-speed networks, every place can be the “centre of the world”!

All that is needed for Malaysians to be at “the centre of the world” by getting onto the Internet to plug into to the Worldwide Web of information together with 50 million other internet users is to have a computer, a modem, a telephone line and a Jaring membership.

The Federal Government and every State Government should have a IT policy to encourage Malaysians to use the Internet and to inform them about its potential for social and economic development.

The information highway infrastructure must be regard¬ed as an essential infrastructure for because it call mean:

An increasing competitive advantage for Malay¬sian enterprises;

Opportunity for specific new industry to develop;

Better, more effective and cost-efficient provision of government services and information; and

Improve quality of life a changed way for Malaysians to live, learn, work and play.

Anwar Ibrahim can start in developing Malaysia into a technologically-literate nation by introducing an IT budget next month with at least three objectives:

To develop awareness among Malaysians at large of the significance of the information highway in Malaysia and in the world;

To develop usage of information technology in Malaysia among government, private sector and individuals; and

To encourage Malaysian companies to invest in the development of new usages, technologies and software for the information highway and to market these processes internationally.

In this connection, there is a need for all Cabinet Ministers to be educated about the information technology and the Internet.

Berita Harian is to be commended for its editorial yesterday entitled “Internet: Jangan lihat keburukan saja”, which should be a “must reading” for all Cabinet Ministers.

This is because recent pronouncements by a senior Cabinet Minister about the abuses and evils of Internet have raised alarm among thinking and knowledgeable Malaysians as to whether there are “Luddities” in the Cabinet who can only see the worst but not the best of Internet.