Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Review Paper: Critical Factors Affecting the Development of ICT Projects in Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Review Paper: Critical Factors Affecting the Development of ICT Projects in Malaysia

Article excerpt


Malaysia has been stuck at middle-income level since the 1990s. Hence, the government has been aggressively undertaking productivity improvement by enhancing its technological and knowledge capabilities in order to transform the community into a knowledge-based society. However, more than 40% of its population still lives in rural areas and lack basic infrastructure (such as fixed telephone lines or Internet connection). This has led to a wider information gap between the rural and urban communities. The setting up of telecentres is seen as a means by which to bridge this gap, as it will provide public access to ICT services and facilities, particularly in remote areas where such services and facilities are lacking. Malaysia has systematically planned a framework to narrow down the gap; it attempts to offer the best ICT infrastructure to its people, thereby allowing them to adopt ICT as a tool to improve their social-economic status. Although investments and efforts have been in place, however, some of these projects have yet to prove successful, and many projects are still in a developmental stage. In addition, there are few empirical studies on the critical issues surrounding the formation of ICT projects in Malaysia, and we are in dire need of research to fill this gap. This paper provides a discussion of the relevant documents, and a literature analysis, regarding the catalysts and barriers towards the development of ICT projects.

Keywords: ICT projects, critical issues, telecentre development

1. Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies, commonly known as ICT, can be described as a variety of goods, applications and services. That can be used for creating, disseminating, processing and transforming information (e.g. TV, radio broadcasting, hardware and software, computer services and electronic media) (Marcelle, 2000). In other words, the use of ICT can accelerate and enhance the dissemination and sharing of information and facilitates the communication processes, across vast, geographically dispersed areas.

According to a recent report by The World Bank Group (2012), ICT can effectively be used for overcoming poverty, increasing business productivity, accelerating economic growth and improving accountability and governance in any society. Thioune (2003) emphasises that ICT plays an important role in improving different aspects of people's lives. For example the use of ICT could positively impact on economic growth, education, communication, and mobility, as well as providing opportunities for positive development. Developing countries, like Malaysia, have been inspired by the successful stories of most developed countries, and have adopted ICT as part of their national development strategies (e.g. ICT development policies in Malaysia).

The Internet is a key enabler of ICTs, whether that is in terms of accessibility to networking (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc.,) obtaining and sharing knowledge, disseminating information, and developing of e-based activities (e.g. e-billing, e-bank, online shopping, etc.). Recognizing the importance and power of knowledge and information, the government in Malaysia and private investors lead a number of initiatives to provide rural and underserved communities community with telecentres and e-centres (CeCs) (UNESCAP, 2006). These initiatives have contributed to increased internet access for people living outside urban areas and it are expected to increase use of internet in rural areas as tool for improving people's means and livelihood

More specifically in Malaysia the National IT Agenda (NITA) under Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010) and the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) were established for the development of the global ICT industry, in line with the objective of Vision 2020 (Note 1). Such establishments are expected to act as a firm basis on which to maintain a positive rate of economic growth and strengthen international competitiveness. …

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