Similarly, close scrutiny of the GTP revealed intensification of ICT usage in all its target programmes, namely reducing crime, fighting corruption, improving student outcomes, raising the standard of living of low income households, improving urban transport and improving rural basic infrastructure.
Recognising ICT gaps in the ETP and GTP, the government is also in the process of embarking on the Digital Malaysia Programme (DMP), which is aimed at developing the Innovative Digital Framework (IDE) as an integral part of a broader knowledge and innovation economy that the government has been aggressively pursuing since the dawn of this century. The DMP initiatives are ICT projects entailing five domain areas namely economic, social, governance, technology and environmental.
Besides the top-down government initiatives, the bottom up grass-roots initiatives particularly up-take of e-commerce is also proliferating at unprecedented rate. Global e-commerce revenue is expected to hit US$3.8 trillion by 2020. In 2009 alone, virtual goods and online gaming worldwide market, led by Asia, recorded US$6 billion. Thus to avoid the loss of business opportunity not only the government but also private sector industry are leveraging the growing global opportunity in the implementation of e-commerce. Given a substantial long history of ICT development, Malaysia has a number of distinct advantages such as 60 percent broadband penetration in 2010, a large pool of Internet users across geography and demography, proliferation in Internet and mobile banking, critical mass in technology savvy XY population and introduction of state-of-the-art technology, as well as a paradigm shift in the mindset of the population.
In the past, implementations of top-down programmes have been cited as one of the most challenging factors for registering success. Recognising this, the government has initiated new institutions with private sector blood namely PEMANDU, PEMUDAH, AIM and Talent Corp to spearhead the ETP, GTP and DMP programmes with improved implementation, monitoring, measuring and evaluating mechanisms.
The need for a single ICT government ministry
Going forward, PIKOM believes that the top three things that the government needs to be mindful of for effective ICT sector growth, from production and user or usage perspectives include, as follows;-
i) Though the country has attained 60 percent broadband penetration in 2010, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural population, between the younger and older generation, between the educated and less educated population are still problematic. The broadband penetration is also a major concern for private sectors mainly for the implementation of e-commerce among the masses and moving up the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be in par with big corporations and multinationals for efficient business undertaking not only with them but also with the "big guys."
ii) Human capital is another major concern. Over the past one decade, the number of ICT graduates enrolled or entering the job market has drastically reduced, indeed almost halved from one-hundred thousand in 2000 to 50,000 in 2010. Studies have shown that the younger generations are weary of ICT jobs due to long working hours, high job demands due to rapid changes in technology, lack of career prospects and poor remuneration in comparison to neighbouring countries, in particular Hong Kong and Singapore. Both the ICT production and user industries like banking and insurance sectors also have indicated that only 10 percent of ICT graduates are employable. In other words, bulk of the ICT graduates especially from local universities need to be retrained or retooled, which is considered an expensive affair for SME type of operations. Due to high job mobility in the sector, even large corporations are reluctant to provide the requisite training.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.