5th BIMP EAGA ICT Cluster Meeting in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

The 5th BIMP – EAGA ICT Infrastructure Cluster meeting was held on 16 – 17 May, 2017 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The meeting was attended by 47 delegates representing BIMP-EAGA officials, BIMP-EAGA telecommunication regulators, operators, ICT companies, BIMP-EAGA ICT CEO Forum delegates and BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center.

The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Mazlan Zurin Zulkifli, Senior Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia. Durratul ‘Aini Haji Hashim, Research and Development Officer, Ministry of Communications, Brunei Darussalam, headed the Brunei Darussalam delegation. Indonesia delegation was headed by Mr. Aries Prasetyo, Senior Officer for Center of International Affairs, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia. The Malaysian delegation was headed by Datuk Bruno Vun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Resource Development and Information Technology, Sabah, Malaysia. The Philippines delegation was headed by Mr. Alan Silor, Assistant Secretary, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Philippines. The private sector was represented by Mr. Samuel Matunog, Chairperson of the ICT CEO Forum.

Mazlan Zurin Zulkifli, Senior Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia welcomed the delegates to the 5th BIMP-EAGA ICT Infrastructure Cluster Meeting and to Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. He mentioned that Malaysia is indeed honoured to host the meeting to discuss on ICT issues which are pertinent to the BIMP-EAGA region. He hoped the annual meeting will not only enable the building of a synergized collaboration in BIMP-EAGA, but also to provide an invaluable opportunity for networking and knowledge sharing.

In his remarks, he highlighted on the comment made at the BIMP-EAGA Senior Officials Meeting for ICT Cluster to become enablers for all the other clusters as well. This is because the intrinsic value of ICT lies not only in the ease for communications and information but rather as catalyst for growth and development such as to support the goals of increased trade, investment and tourism.

He highlighted that the development of ICT sector in Malaysia hinges on various initiatives of the government which forms the foundation for development and applications of ICT technologies through the provisioning of backbone for infrastructure and helping develop the capabilities to leapfrog Malaysia into digital economy. He mentioned that 2017 has been declared the year of Internet Economy for Malaysia by the Prime Minister. The five key strategic catalysts that have been identified are physical microcosm, risk capital funding, connectivity, talent, and regulatory frameworks. He highlighted that the ICT players, do not only play a pivotal role in championing the awareness on digital economy, but also to boost up economic gains and businesses pertaining to ICT.

He highlighted that in Malaysia’s quest to deliver ICT services to the rural communities, unique collaborative arrangements with many industry partners have been created. One of the well-known initiatives is the Community Broadband Centers or Pusat Internet 1 Malaysia, which provides collective community internet access. With the implementation of these efforts, many success stories have been recorded on how broadband ICT services have changed the lives of Malaysians.