Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ministry: ICT key consideration in education overhaul

KUALA LUMPUR: Wider use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom will be a major consideration when the Government revamps the national education system.
“We do not want our students to be left behind.
“The use of ICT is crucial in our efforts to become a knowledge-based society and high-income nation,” said Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.
Other issues to be studied under the proposed review include the quality of teachers and early childhood education, he said after presenting prizes to the winners of the Malaysian National Band Compe­tition (Natcomp) 2011 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here on Sunday evening.
Dr Mohd Puad said experts from the public and private sectors were providing input for the review.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said earlier that the ministry was preparing a report on the proposed review, which was aimed at improving the quality of national education.
Education director-general Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud is heading the team that is preparing the report, which is expected to be submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Cabinet for approval by the year’s end.
On another matter, Dr Mohd Puad urged non-governmental organisations and the private sector to play a more active role in supporting students’ co-curricular activities.
Citing school bands as an example, he said NGOs such as the Malaysian Band Association could provide technical support for students to set up bands in their schools.
“The coaching that students receive from external instructors can help their schools perform well in competitions,” said Dr Mohd Puad, adding that the NGOs and the private sector could also help to fund school clubs and societies.
Meanwhile, SMK Sultanah Asma school band from Kedah emerged the champion to win the Natcomp 2011 title.
The second and third places went to St John’s Institution, Kuala Lumpur, and Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid, Kedah.

KANG SOON CHEN. Ministry: Ict key consideration in education overhaul. THE STAR. Retrieved from

Malaysia among top three Outsourcing destinations in the world

CYBERJAYA: Malaysia’s strong talent pool and advantages have placed it among the top three Shared Services Outsourcing (SSO) destinations in the world.
Quoting this from a study by global management consulting firm AT Kearney, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said: “Thanks to Malaysia’s multi-cultural environment, the ranking enables the country to offer multiple language skills and a high-value workforce capable of interacting as well as meeting the needs of customers across the globe.”
He said there were almost 140 foreign and 60 local companies in the country now performing various SSO activities, ranging from IT and business process outsourcing to knowledge process outsourcing.
Najib said the sectors covered by the companies included energy, chemical and resources.
Innovative centre: Najib looking at a model of the HP Global Centre in Cyberjaya yesterday. Looking on are (from left) HP executive vice-president and chief information officer Randy Mott, HP executive vice-president, chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer Cathie Lesjak, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili and other officials.
The others are transportation and logistics, banking and finance and information technology services.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the opening of the Acre Hewlett-Packard (HP) Global Centre here yesterday.
Built on a 25ha site, the centre will host multiple core functions such as global applications development and support, global finance support and enterprise contacts.
It also has a state-of-the-art next-generation data centre.
Najib said information and communications technology (ICT) was a key enabler in the country’s ambition to achieve a high-income developed nation status by 2020.
“It is no surprise that 85 of the 131 identified entry point projects under the Economic Transform­ation Programme are driven or enabled by ICT.
“It is our belief that to achieve these lofty goals we must be bold enough to break convention and, ultimately, strive towards creating an innovative digital divide that stimulates new technologies, outlets and opportunities.”
Touching on the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) designed to leapfrog the country into the information and knowledge age, the Prime Minister said MSC Malaysia would complete its second phase this year.
“I am happy to report that the results are more than satisfactory,” he said, adding that in 14 years, 2,500 MSC-status companies had been created with a combined contribution of more than RM35bil towards the country’s gross domestic product.

DHARMENDER SINGH . Malaysia among top three outsourcing destinations in the world. THE STAR. Retrieved from

Sabah to create packages to attract investments in bio-tech and ICT industries

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will customise a competitive package under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) to attract private investments particularly in knowledge intensive sectors.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said anchor companies, were being eyed for new investments and encouragement would be given to bio-tech and ICT industries for designated strategic development areas.
Speaking at the seventh Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA), he said Sabah was promoting its potential through trade missions both by the state and national agencies.
“The response from these missions has been very fruitful and since 2008 there is cumulative planned investment in SDC which has reached RM57 bil in June,” he said.
He said the tourism and real estate sector had attracted about RM22.1bil or 39% of the total planned investment while manufacturing, oil and gas and energy drew about RM26bil or 45.6% of the investments planned.
However, he said that the agriculture sector, which was the state’s backbone, was lagging in terms of new investments making up about RM3.2bil or 5.5% of the planned investments.
However, Musa was hopeful that it would change with the implementation of agro-based projects under the SDC.
The Chief Minister said aggressive implementation of SDC especially in agriculture would mitigate the increase in food prices while opening up economic opportunity for the rural people.
Musa said that agro-based projects include the Palm Oil Industrial Clusters in Sandakan and Lahad Datu, agro based projects in Tongod, Pitas, Kota Belud, Kemabong, Beluran Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre, permanent Food Production Parks and Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct and Fisheries Complex in Kuala Penyu.
Musa said there has been interest from Brunei and Kalimantan to enhance trade ties.

MUGUNTAN VANAR. . Sabah to create packages to attract investments in bio-tech and ict industries. THE STAR. Retrieved from

Pikom says did not initiate Computing Professionals Bill

PETALING JAYA: The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) said it was invited by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) as one of 17 stakeholders to provide comments and input to the proposed Computing Professionals Bill (CPB).
"We would like to make it clear that Pikom did not champion the proposed Board of Computing Professionals Bill 2011," said Pikom president, Shaifubahrim Saleh in a statement.
He added that while Pikom sees the proposed Bill as a move to enhance the industry's professionalism, it is also concerned with the Bill's scope, approach and implementation.
The industry body will be polling its 1,400-strong membership to gauge sentiments and collect feedback on the proposed Bill.
The statement comes days after IT professionals expressed their opposition to the Bill during the Dec 13 open day session held at Mosti's Putrajaya office to gather feedback.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili, has stressed that his ministry is only the "facilitator" of the Computing Professionals Bill.
"The idea came from the industry players and we are just the facilitating the process," he said during a press conference on Dec 14 to clarify Mosti's position.
The mentioned stakeholders comprise IT graduates, academia, SME and SMI, multinational corporations, and self-taught IT professionals.
The draft Bill seeks to legalise the formation of a Board of Computing Professionals to oversee the registration of IT professionals in this country.
It is a bid to ensure that only qualified professionals can work in the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) sectors.
Among the sectors in the CNII are banking and finance, cyber-security, national defence, healthcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, and utilities.
The Bill will recognise two categories of IT talents - certified IT practitioners who do not have formal qualifications, and certified IT professionals who have full qualifications.
The draft of the Bill was released on the Internet on Dec 8 but so far no one has admitted to posting the 56-page document online.
Since then, the proposed Bill has come under a firestorm of criticism from the local IT community, with concerns ranging from the lack of consultation with the wider community to the hindrance of innovation and development the Bill would have across the board upon its implementation.
Many have called for the proposed Bill to be scrapped entirely, questioning the need for a law rather than industry-led initiatives to improve quality and standards of its practitioners.
Ongkili stated during the press conference that if the industry was collectively against the Bill, Mosti would move to scrap it.
"If they are not keen, it is entirely up to them to decide and as for us, we will have less work," he told reporters present.
Ongkili said since industry players had brought up their concerns, the onus was on them to assist the ministry in drafting the law and setting up the board.
"It will be up to the industry to decide the composition of the board, the extent of its powers and other related matters. The board will then define the realm to be regulated and they can tailor it to their requirements," he said.
Ongkili has also expressed hope that a draft of the Bill could still be ready by the middle of next year, with consultations slated to continue with more stakeholder groups to be engaged.
"I think six months is sufficient for this. We will weigh all views and comments and hopefully a final decision can be made then," he said.
The 30-day feedback period on the draft Bill is ongoing and interested parties have been urged to e-mail their suggestions and concerns to by January 15 2012. 

 GABEY GOH. Pikom says did not initiate computing professionals bill. THE STAR. Retrieved from

ICT is catalyst for innovation

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is an increasingly competitive nation in Asia Pacific and such development can be further accelerated through ICT (information and communications technology), said software giant Microsoft Malaysia.
"Exciting things are happening in Malaysia with the projects under the Economic Transformation Programme and ICT will be the catalyst for many of them," said Ananth Lazarus, Microsoft Malaysia managing director.
Microsoft, he said, will continue to support the country's innovative spirit through its many programmes and initiatives aimed at transforming lives, businesses, and the education sector.
To this end, the software vendor has launched various initiatives, such as organising the Imagine Cup competition to encourage students think up innovative ideas to solve the world's toughest problems.
It is also behind the BizSpark programme, which equips software startups with Microsoft development tools.
This has led to the setting up of local software companies, such as Israk Technology that is involved with online video production and Web Bytes which produces Xilnex, a cloud-based management software for the retail sector.
Microsoft has also equipped various non-governmental organisations with its software products under its Unlimited Potential programme.
This programme is targeted at narrowing the "digital divide" - the gap between the technology haves and have-nots.
Ananth was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the Microsoft Accelerating Asia Pacific Summit here. The event highlights how technology can be used to solve socio-economic problems in the region.
Parent company Microsoft Corp sees Asia Pacific as an epicentre of growth due to the region's growing number of talents and innovations.

JO TIMBUONG. Ict is catalyst for innovation. THE STAR. Retrieved from