Sabah needs better communication infrastructure: Yee
Sabah needs better communication and content infrastructure in terms of Government to Citizen (G2C) applications to meet the changes in society current lifestyle with the higher cost of living. According to Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, the society has become more demanding and has entered into challenging times due to escalating cost of living. “The recent rise in fuel prices globally has also impacted our society drastically and equally, the Government has not been spared as it has to maintain and to enhance better governance and provide efficient service delivery;” he said. Yee added that according to the 2007 Fourth Quarter Report by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the broadband penetration rate per 100 inhabitants in Sabah is only 2.6, impared to five at the national level. The penetration rate per 100 households is only 11.9 and as for internet dial-up penetration, Sabah is ranked the lowest at 4.3 per 100 inhabitants while cellular penetration rate for Sabah is at 39.6 per 100 inhabitants, compared to 85 at the national level, Yee said. “This simply means that some drastic measures must be made to improve the communication reach to our citizens for Sabah to become an information-rich society,” he said. Yee was speaking during the official opening of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Conference 2008 for Sabah Government Agencies at the Magellan Sutera Harbour here yesterday. The conference themed “Empowering Societies Through eService Delivery”, was to provide more knowledge and experiences to the participants on the ICT development at the national and global levels and its potential to provide the best delivery services. According to Yee, the ICT can be used as a tool for administrative renewal towards good governance and not simply by having state of the art equipment and applications but rather with the right intent and capability. He added that the Sabah State Agencies CIOs’ in-depth knowledge of the organization’s business processes provides them with a capacity to demonstrate the intent and capability in providing e-enabled services or e-services to the citizens. “A smart partnership among agencies must also be created such as the sharing of geospatial data among relevant agencies which will enhance the value and capability of the applications being developed,” he said. Yee also urged the CIOs to be updated with the latest and best practices providing ICT-enabled services to ensure the competitiveness of Sabah in particular as Malaysia thrusts towards globalization. Meanwhile, the Deputy State Secretary (Development) cum Sabah State CIO Datuk Gregory Joitol said that while the e-service delivery had been implemented at the national and State levels, it is timely that online delivery services is identified such as the information and online form in Government websites. “The information need to be keep updated to ensure the relevancies with the current situations and the Federal Government agencies have provided a few websites that can be used as reference by providing / Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) column,” he said. Gregory also reminded the CIOs on their responsibility and functions as a leader and ICT strategist which is to handle, the p1nning, management and to administer the ICT programmes in their agencies ,’and not only as a caretaker of. the ICT. The two-day conference comprises of presentations from CIOs and managers from various. agencies such as “Understanding Telecommunications Network and IT of the 21st Century” by TM Sabah State General Manager Sukkuriya Masri and “Networked Government” by Cisco Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Technical Consultant Dalbir Singh.