The Malaysian Association of Bumiputera ICT Industry and Entrepreneurs (NEF) has urged the government to place greater emphasis on local tech companies. The statement, which was made by the President of NEF, Khairil Iszuddin Ismail has also listed several recent ICT projects that the government has assigned to foreign companies.
Among the most notable project in the list is the MySejahtera app which is currently being heavily promoted by the government as the main federal-level COVID-19 contact tracing app. The group said that that MySejahtera was developed by a company based in the United States called KPISOFT which also has offices in Singapore, UAE, and Austria.
The statement has also mentioned the Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia which was just launched by the Ministry of Education a few weeks ago. The new platform which received support from Apple, Google, and Microsoft, has been accused to overlook contents made by local companies.
NEF pointed out that there are plenty of local tech companies that are capable enough to come up with innovative solutions that can cater to large scale government projects. As a comparison, NEF highlighted several local ICT projects in its statement including CoronaTracker, Datang.my and Pandai App.
However, NEF said that local tech companies are being forced to compete with foreign companies that have much larger resources than them. Hence, the group believe that the government should implement a more thorough procurement process that prioritizes Malaysian tech companies and establish this as a national policy.
In addition to that, the group also insist that the government should engage with local companies right at the beginning of the project development, instead of having them as an afterthought. NEF also suggests the establishment of open source policy within government agencies themselves that could help cultivate local ICT talents.
The group is now working to highlight this issue to the masses through its new #MalaysianTechFirst campaign. It is going to be interesting to see how the government react to the statement made by NEF, just as it embarked on the road to economic recovery after being hammered by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
(Main image: SITEC Academy.)