Friday, 9 December 2011

IT folk upset over draft Bill

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Many say proposal will cripple industry

By JO TIMBUONG and GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Members of the Information Technology industry are up in arms over a proposed Bill that seeks to certify IT professionals, claiming it will cripple not help the industry.

Industry players said a draft of the Computing Professionals Bill 2011, released online on Thursday night, proposed that only registered IT professionals could create software or computer applications for government use.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) drafted the Bill, with the aim of maintaining a registry of certified IT professionals in the country.

It is a bid to ensure that only qualified professionals can work in the sectors classified under the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII).

The CNII covers, among others, banking and finance, cyber-security, the national defence industry, healthcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, and utilities.

The Bill will recognise two categories of IT talents certified IT practitioners who do not have formal qualifications, and certified IT professionals who have the full qualification.



But some industry players are arguing that the proposed Bill would in effect hinder innovation and development across the board because CNII was very broad in its scope.

Willie Chan, founder of business software maker xIMnet Malaysia, said anyone should be able to create software or applications, not just certified practitioners or professionals.

“If a doctor who writes code as a hobby comes up with a software that can benefit the health industry, shouldn't he be allowed to market it to the Government?” he asked.

“If this draft passes into law, it will hinder such cross-pollination of ideas.”

Chan holds a degree in English Literature. Under the drafted Bill, he would be listed as only an IT practitioner, and would not be able to market xIMnet Malaysia solutions to the Government or its agencies.

Daniel CerVentus, co-founder of an online resource portal and community for entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs.my, believes that if such a situation were to develop, it would aggravate the country's brain-drain problem.

Mosti said the Bill did not aim to regulate the entire computing profession and was only applied to those identified as working in CNII sectors.

It also said registration was not mandatory.

Mosti will be holding an open day at its Putrajaya premises from 9.30am to 5pm on Tuesday to collect feedback and suggestions.

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