Laman Webantu   KM2A1: 2893 File Size: 8.8 Kb *

TJ AT: MSC - Hebat Tapi Bangang?
By Kapal Berita

27/9/2000 9:30 pm Wed

TJ Ringkas: (intipati sahaja sambil meng'komen' (mengulas lerr...)

Hebat tetapi bangang: Malaysia tewas dalam perancangan teknologi maklumat

Dikala akhbar perdana menyiarkan puji-pujian Gates terhadap MSC, sebenarnya ada sesuatu yang mereka sepatutnya terkelu. Sumbangan Microsoft di MSC cuma sekitar US$2.6 juta sahaja di bandar yang penuh dengan "jaya maya" nya. Tetapi di Hyderabad India, Microsoft mencurahkan US$50 juta banyaknya pelaburan di sana. Ini menyerlahkan bahawa bisa tenaga pakar adalah lebih penting daripada tenaga infra struktur yang mencakar.

Bayangkan pecahan wang 14 billion yang telah disalurkan untuk MSC ini:

  1. Cyberjaya = 2 billion
  2. KLCC = 3 billion
  3. KLIA = 9 billion

Malaysia menjangka mendapat pulangan 20 billion dari pelaburan seperti ini dalam masa 5 tahun. Soalnya... Boleh ke?

Pembangunan yang lebih penting sebenarnya ialah pembangunan pelajaran! Bukannya dengan membina dan menyusub batu-batan sehingga mencakar langit tingginya dan memburu awan terbangnya.

Rencana Asiaweek bertajuk "Forget Infrastructure. It's the Software, Stupid!" yang lalu telah mengupas perkara sedemikian.

Antara kesilapan atau masalah yang ditimbul ialah:

  1. Kurangnya tenaga pakar.
  2. Pembangunan diperingkat awal di sekolah yang ditinggalkan
  3. Ceruk rantau yang terbiar tanpa IT
  4. Iklim Politik yang kurang menyakinkan
  5. Kebebasan yang Terpenjara turut memenjarakan idea
  6. Banyak tangan.....
  7. Kurangnya nasihat yang 'garang'

Source: Asia Times

Awesome but stupid: Malaysia loses the IT plot By Anil Netto

Envious eyes in Malaysia must be looking westward at the knowledge workers India is churning out. If only Malaysia, with its massive investment in infrastructure, had India's breeding ground for software talent, then its information technology industry would really take off.

A mainstream newspaper last week headlined computer software tycoon Bill Gates's description of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, a huge fiber-optic-wired high-tech zone south of Kuala Lumpur, as "awesome".

"Outside the United States, you won't find a project where the scale of the commitment and the energy put behind it is any greater than this one," Gates said of the MSC. That may be so. But lost in the small print somewhere was the news that Gates, for all his gushing praise, had little to offer in the way of fresh investment in the MSC.

In a memorandum of understanding signed with Malaysia's Multimedia University, the new Microsoft Knowledge Capital Center in the MSC offered to sponsor 10 million ringgit (US$2.6 million) worth of training and development facilities and programs over the next five years.

Contrast that with Gates's announcement of a US$50 million expansion plan for Microsoft Corp's development center in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad - widely seen as a "vote of confidence" in India's human resources despite its weak infrastructure and mass poverty. ''The key is the quality of the human talent here [in India]. When people do software projects in India, they do so because this is the place they can find people with the latest skills. It is not on the [cheap] price [of labor],'' Gates was quoted as saying by The Times of India newspaper.

That's not to say firms have not been drawn to Malaysia's MSC. They have. Launched in 1996, the 15 by 50-kilometer MSC has lured investments from 362 high-tech companies and is well on course to reach its target of 500 by 2003. More than 14 billion ringgit has been invested in the MSC, including 2 billion ringgit for a high-tech city, Cyberjaya; 3 billion ringgit for the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest building; and 9 billion ringgit for the new Kuala Lumpur airport. And Malaysia expects to see returns of 20 billion ringgit over the next five years from these investments.

But is Malaysia's IT industry missing the point? For the most part, the approach has been "top-down", with the focus on infrastructure building in the MSC zone, flagship applications, and the laying of fiber-optic cables in the MSC. An article on the MSC in a regional magazine (Asiaweek) may have summed it up aptly in its headline: "Forget Infrastructure. It's the Software, Stupid!"


And it's the knowledge workers too. Already industry leaders have voiced concern over Malaysia's lack of skilled local knowledge workers. Industry experts have also pointed out that Malaysia may be overstretching itself by focusing on too many, flagship applications such as telemedicine and e-government. Instead, they say, Malaysia should focus on core competencies such as applications for manufacturing, agriculture and biotechnology. Local small- and medium-scale enterprises should be brought into the mainstream of the nation's IT industry.


Critics have argued that a "bottom-up" approach would have been more effective. They want the government to spend more on upgrading computer literacy among the masses by improving public IT facilities and by equipping all school classrooms and libraries with computers. Despite several commendable projects geared to the grassroots among them mobile Internet libraries for rural schools, rural telecenters, and computers in public libraries these have only reached a minority. The funds allocated for these projects pale in comparison with the billions funneled to the MSC.


Thus Malaysia has a situation where it has an "awesome" MSC but in Sabah and Sarawak states, across the South China Sea, some 700 schools remain in depressing condition. "More than 600 schools need proper water supply urgently while the others need electricity supply, better road connections, better housing facilities for teachers and other necessities for the standard of rural education to be improved," said Deputy Premier Abdullah Badawi recently.


Nationwide, 5,010 out of over 7,000 primary schools are without computer facilities. Among the over 1,500 secondary schools, about half do not have computers. For those in computer-equipped schools, the limited number of PCs means pupils have little meaningful IT exposure. As long as Malaysia neglects IT in schools, the country will find it hard to produce the software engineers needed to lift it to par with the developed nations.


Another woe is the difficulty entrepreneurs face in sourcing development capital for software and multimedia development. An IT expert has blamed local financiers for operating with an outdated mindset that stresses manufacturing and physical assets over intellectual capital.

Foreign venture capital firms, on the other hand, are wary of expanding into Malaysia mainly out of fear that they may not be able to exit fast enough should things go wrong. With nine out of 10 dotcom firms flopping, venture capital firms want to make sure they have a easy escape route - but Malaysia's capital controls put some of them off.


Analysts say the political climate also plays a part in limiting creativity. If repressive laws continue to stifle alternative and critical thinking, how, they ask, can Malaysia expect to produce the climate of freedom that is necessary for creative minds to flourish? "If Malaysia keeps repressing dissenting views on politics and indeed the economy, in print, public discourse or parliamentary debates, the perception is that the Malaysian state is untrustworthy," says political scientist Andrew Aeria.


The Internet has created a borderless world where distances and geographical location should count for little. But Mahathir's plan to inject the bulk of the nation's IT spending into the MSC seems at odds with that borderless concept. Perhaps he would do well to heed some sound advice from Diana Lady Dougan, a member of the MSC's International Advisory Panel: "Don't concentrate too much on the technology and improving the economy, but also [consider the] quality of life."

(Special to Asia Times Online)
Extra heading/comments by KM2 editor...