Last week, I asked in the Dewan Rakyat when the Seventh Malaysia Plan would be tabled in Parliament and whether it would, for the first time, incorporate a National Information Infrastructure (NII) policy for Malaysia.
The answer from the Prime Minister’s Department was that the Seventh Malaysia Plan was likely to be presented to Parliament at the end of March, and it was unable to say whether it would contain a NII policy.
This is most disappointing, and shows that the critical importance of the Information Technology (IT) revolution has not permeated into the high levels of government.
There is no doubt that many Malaysians, including Ministers and MPS, are afraid of the IT revolution, because they are computer-illiterate and do not understand Internet or the Information Superhighway.
This is precisely why the DAP has called for the immediate formulation of an NII policy for Malaysia, whereby Malaysia spells out its aim to become a leader in the development of the Information Superhighway.
Malaysian leaders must be made to understand that communications and information are now the new resources upon which the economic prosperity and competitiveness of nations would be built.
I find it very disappointing that the Prime Minister’s Department could not say even now whether the Seventh Malaysia Plan would promulgate a NII policy for Malaysia, when Malaysia is already behind other nations in the development of Information Technology.
DAP proposes the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology with the objective to make Malaysia a leader in the development of the Information Superhighway, which should propound the adoption of a NII policy for Malaysia with three specific objectives:
*1. To make Malaysians at all levels of society to understand that technology and knowledge have become the decisive factors of international competitiveness, and that there must be a change of mentalities and public attitudes towards IT from the highest levels of government to the ordinary rakyat.
* 2. To encourage Malaysians to master the new information technologies which make it possible to gain access to new knowledge, to develop new ideas and concepts and to improve knowhow in the design, manufacture and the marketing of products which would have considerable impacts in the world of education, health and industry.
* 3. To stimulate the creation and growth of small businesses active in the technology field to form the industrial fabric of the new knowledge economy to create jobs and ensure a strong Malaysian presence in the world markets.
I will write to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is the Barisan Nasional Whip in Parliament, as to whether the government supports this proposal for an All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology and whether the Barisan Nasional Government would permit Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPS to work with Opposition MPs in such a committee.
(Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the 1995 DAP Congress Dinner held on Saturday, November 11, 1995)