Malaysia: Estimated 25% Net penetration rate by 2005

Provisions under the Eighth Malaysia Plan are expected to boost the country's Internet penetration from the current 7 percent to 25 percent by year 2005, according to Malaysian Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Leo Moggie.

Provisions under the Eighth Malaysia Plan are expected to boost the country's Internet penetration from the current 7 percent to 25 percent by year 2005, Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Leo Moggie said.

KUALA LUMPUR--Fixed line penetration should increase from the current 23 percent to 28 percent, and mobile penetration, which has surpassed fixed line penetration, from 26 percent to 35 percent by 2005. Within the same time frame, the government hopes to increase penetration rates in the rural areas from the current 11 percent to 18 percent.

"Under the Plan, more than RM1 billion out of the total RM5.2 billion allocated for ICT-related programs and projects, has been allocated for programs to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas in the country," Moggie said at the launch of the DiGi Journalist of the Year Award here Thursday.

Bridging the digital divide however, requires significant focus on building capacity and developing human resource capabilities in the field of communications and media.

Moreover, effectively training and developing the masses on IT usage requires a shift away from conventional training methodologies to more innovative ones such as tele-education and distance learning using satellite communications

"Thus, the Ministry has--with the assistance of the Japanese government--recently launched the Networked Multimedia Education System project. In the first phase of the project, a tele-education network will be established using the MEASAT-2 system. The network will link the Multimedia University (MMU) as the hub site to five training institutions in different parts of the country," Moggie said.

The IT training programs conducted in MMU will simultaneously be transmitted to students in the training institutions. Such programs, apart from other programs currently being undertaken by the government (such as smart schools, IT colleges, rural Internet centers) can have a significant impact in building capacity and developing skills in the field of IT, he added.