The main focus of Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, Malaysia-KTAK is the development of key infrastructure and services that will propel the development of ICT. Under the 6th National Policy Objective of CMA 1998, KTAK will ensure an equitable provision of affordable services over ubiquitous national infrastructure. Part of this infrastructure is the provisioning of Internet facilities and services in the rural areas. Dato Dr. Halim Man, Secretary General, Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, Malaysia gives an overview of the country initiatives.
What are the main areas of activity of KTAK with regard to ICT based development in Malaysia? (Unit PR)
The main focus of KTAK is the development of key infrastructure and services that will propel the development of ICT. Modern communications, both telecommunications and broadcasting is ICT based and any development of these will inevitable cause the development of ICT industries. Networks today are all ICT based, so are the applications and services that run on them. ICT has also enabled multimedia devices with multiple function that allow computing and communications to take advantage of networking.
Through the MyICMS886 initiative, KTAK aims to develop key services and infrastructure that has the maximum impact on the generation of growth within the industry. For instance the development of high speed broadband and next generation networks together with the transition to IPv6 will boost content based services and applications that in turn will lead to the development of the content industries and e-services applications. Similarly, the implementation of digital terrestrial television and mobile TV will promote the development of content and
What role does KTAK play in spearheading rural telecentre initiatives in Malaysia?
Under the 6th National Policy Objective of CMA 1998, KTAK will ensure an equitable provision of affordable services over ubiquitous national infrastructure. Part of this infrastructure is the provisioning of Internet facilities and services in the rural areas. As an agency responsible to the development of Communications and Multimedia Industry, KTAK will ensure that even the rural communities wouldn’t be left behind in the advancement of these technologies. Hence, the implementation of rural telecenter initiatives by KTAK will address the issues of the digital disparity between the urban and rural communities and eventually will bridge the digital divide that exist between the urban and rural communities.
In context of telecentre initiatives, how did KTAK start its journey in terms of policy development and launching government programs?
The provision of communications infrastructures and services in community centers was given high emphasis under the Eight Malaysian Plan (RM8) whereby the government had approved RM 6.8 million for the implementation of Rural Internet Center (RIC) Programme.
The Government launched the National Broadband Plan (NBP) in 2004 as a strategic step to propel the country into a knowledge-base society and economy. As part of NBP implementation, the Govern-ment implemented connecting communities program which involved selected public communities such as government depart-ments, schools, clinics, universities and research institutions and community centers.
To enhance the concept of telecenters for implementation, the Government commisioned JICA to conduct a study on the “Enhancement of Info Communications Access in the Rural Communities in Malaysia” (January 2002 to March 2003). The objective was primarily to formulate an Action Plan for the enhancement and technology transfer of the info-communications access in rural communities.
The present model of telecenter implementation and deployment is based on the recommendations and proposals made in the final report of the study.
What is the response of the rural community towards telecentre initiatives in Malaysia?
The initiative was well received by the rural communities and the Ministry had received requests from the communities to replicate the initiative elsewhere.
As of 2005, more than 245, 739 people in the rural have been given the basic ICT training in all the 42 sites of PID.
What challenges exist in making telecentres successful in delivering social and economic benefits?
Challenges are :
- To educate and train the rural communities whom are extremely ICT illterate
- To capture the interest of communities surrounding the telecenter
- To ensure participation and usage from the communities
- To get local figure to champion the initiative
Steps taken to address the challenges are :
- Employing supervisors and assistant supervisors, whom are a degree and diploma holder each, to educate and train the rural community
- The establishment of telecenter committee whose members are local figures and leaders to carry out promotion and awareness efforts to the rural community
- Involving the communities in telecenter activities to instill a sense of belonging to the telecenter
- Constant monitoring of activities and utilisation at the Ministry through an online Network Monitoring Center.
How does the government cooperate with private sector players to implement and sustain telecentre projects?
The telecenter projects had received numerous supports and cooperation from the private sector players throughout its implementation. For the case of Pusat Internet Desa, Pos Malaysia, the national postal company allocated an annex next to the rural post offices as the center to house the computer equipments and to conduct telecenter operations.
The bandwidth and Internet Connection to the centers is provided by TMNet, the nation largest ISP at a discounted rate as part of their corporate social responsibility in assisting the Government to bridge the digital divide.
Multinational companies such as Microsoft had also contributed significantly to the telecenter initiative in terms of training materials and training the trainers modules as part of the capacity building programs for the project.
KTAK through its special agency