Friday, November 30, 2007


Yee: Site earmarked for MSC Cyber Centre

A land area within the State Capital has been earmarked for setting up of the First MSC Cyber Centre in Sabah in line with the Government’s initiative to develop the Sabah Development Corridor. Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai said that this showed that the State Government recognises the potentials of information communication and technology (ICT) in political and socioeconomic transformation. As Sabah strides to the next phase of ICT development, he urged the private sector to render their fullest support in ensuring the success of such initiatives, which eventually will benefit the industry as a whole. At the same time, Yee reckoned that institutions of higher learning and research organisations should play their role accordingly as well. “I am serious about the tripartite university-industry-Government tie-up and I am prepared to study any proposal to that effect,” he said when launching the first Regional Conference on Computational Science and Technologies at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort here yesterday. Yee said beginning next year, his ministry will embark further ICT development in the State, which will enhance the public sector operations, with efforts in bridging the digital divide. “We will focus more on development of ICT as a strategic industry contributing to the creation of a k-economy, while at the same time, enhancing the efforts to transform public sector operations and bridge the digital gap,” he said. Yee said that his ministry will work closely with the relevant Federal agencies in bringing about this development. Towards this end, he said the State Government had established the Sabah Information Technology Council in 1996 to spearhead ICT development, and the vision is to acknowledge society encompassing the people, business, NGOs and the Government, interacting with each other. “The key here is the ability to interact among all levels of society. ICT is the key enabling and strategic tool to turn this vision into reality,” he said Dr Yee said there are two major dominions, namely the e-government to enhancing service delivery, where services are brought to the people and not the other way round, and secondly, the k-society is bridging the digital divide, enabling ubiquitous and equal access by all. “No one should be left behind in the digital revolution lest the gap of digital poverty widens,” he added. He said the main factors of production in the knowledge are namely the people, content and infrastructure. They are the building blocks of k-society. “Among the three, the most important of all is the people. People innovate and create and not machines which are mere tools that help the people,” he added. Yee said they are needed to equip the people with necessary knowledge and skills to use and access to such services. Hence, he said e-Desa centres, places where the people can have access to the net, will continue to be built in un-served or under served areas. He said by the end of the year four more e-Desa centres will be in place, bringing the total to ten. An additional 16 will be built over the next few years, catering specifically to the rural folks. “At the same time, training of the masses in increasing IC literacy will continue to be featured. This is because demand has far outstripped supply,” he added. He said thus far, 21,000 people from all walks of life, including teachers, orphans, women, youth and elderly have benefited from the programme initiated since 2005. “All these efforts are to ensure that digital poverty will not become an issue in the future,” he added. According to Yee, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and learning are strategic sectors identified for intensive ICT development, and as a result, the MSC Cyber Centre will serve as a catalyst for value creation and economic generation. He said his ministry will also capitalise on the national broadband roll-out plan, which targets to have a nationwide broadband penetration rate of 5 percent by 2010. Broadband is a critical part accessibility. Only with accessibility can people utilise the systems and deliver services to the people. On the conference, Yee said it served as a platform for researchers, practitioners and graduate research students to share and publicise their findings, with the hope that they will benefit the industries. About 85 participants from Japan, India, Poland, Czech Republic and Malaysia participated in the conference.