Sarawak To Have Two New Rural ICT Projects, Says Deputy CM


July 10, 2007 14:27 PM

Sarawak To Have Two New Rural ICT Projects, Says Deputy CM

KUCHING, July 10 (Bernama) – Sarawak will have two new rural information communication technology (ICT) projects in an effort to bridge the rural-urban digital divide.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, however, said he could not reveal the details of the projects as the party heading the projects was in the midst of identifying the sites.

Speaking to reporters after opening the 5th International Conference on Information Technology (IT) in Asia 2007 here today, Dr Chan said the project concept would basically be the same as the E-Bario project in Miri which involved the active participation of rural communities.

The E-Bario project located in the Kelabit heartland was started in 1999 by a team of academicians from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and has proven to be a successful model for narrowing the ICT divide between rural and urban communities.

The project has won several accolades, including the national Anugerah Perdana Teknologi Maklumat 2003 (Information Technology Premier Award 2003), e-Asia Award for the Digital Divide category in 2004, and the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management Innovation Award in 2006.

Earlier when opening the conference, Dr Chan who is also state Industrial Development Minister, said the state goverment planned to build more infrastructure to bridge the rural-urban digital divide.

One such effort would be establishing Community Knowledge Centres to provide people with access to e-goverment applications, e-learning and information resource exchange.

“Beyond the digital divide, I hope this conference will also address new and emerging issues associated with ICT in society,” he said.

He proposed conducting studies on whether there are direct or indirect links of obesity, anti-social behaviour and aggression to prolonged use of ICT such as computers and video games.

“If there are, how should they be identified, accounted for and addressed?” he said.