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Abdullah wants local authorities to make full use of ICT

Daily Express, Wednesday, 05 June, 2002

Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called on the district councils and local authorities to make full use of the information and communications technology (ICT) in their effort to provide efficient and quality services in tandem with the rapid urbanisation in the country.

This is because the people have become more educated and more discerning as well as having high expectations on the goods and services provided by local government institutions, he said at the official opening of the Infosoc (Information Society) Malaysia 2002 conference and exhibition, here, Tuesday evening.

His text of speech was read out by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Abdullah said local government institutions should enhance the use of the ICT to drive a steep change in the provision of services and in the management of projects.

"It is important that such use of technology not be mere rhetoric or lip service. Neither should ICT be used only to change appearances such as the provision of static websites for local councils," he said.

In this respect, Abdullah urged local government institutions to go below the surface and allow technology to permeate the entire organisation to ensure fast, effective and cheaper services for the people.

He said governance at the local government level must not only look at the provision of efficient and quality services but also at the implementation of development projects.

"This requires an immense array of skills and capabilities for the people manning the institutions of local government.

"We have set out to urgently upgrade the training provided to officers at the district councils and local authorities but while improvements in human resource capabilities at the local governance level is key, these alone will not be enough...we need also to see the significant use of technology," he said.

On environmental policies in the vicinity of the local government, Abdullah said there was a need for greater integration of development planning and environmental considerations as the local authorities also acted as the planning authority in their respective areas.

He said the participation of all parties at the local level would be crucial in ensuring that the people could work together towards creating cleaner and safer neighborhood.

"We need to make this participation easy and convenient, where there are multiple stakeholders involved, ICT can be an invaluable resource to counter any constraints to actual physical participation.

"ICT can help immensely to facilitate better decision making, improved resource allocation and enhanced stakeholder accountability," he said.

Towards this end, Abdullah hoped more local authorities would step forward to share their best practices and lessons learnt with their counterparts who were less familiar with the technology.-- Bernama

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