THE South China Morning Post had on April 6 published a scientific finding that the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to exist with a more devastating impact. The newspaper also said that “we need to be thinking about pandemics in the same way we think about climate change”.
For that very reason I would like to pen that the ‘non-traditional’ security threat will become major in Malaysia. The nation will continuously be haunted by the pandemic and pathogen epidemic as how we had been through it.
Malaysia must be prepared for all this. The biggest challenge is how the government will function is the times of crisis because the government is the only hope for the people to resume daily routine.
In that manner, the government’s dissemination system must subscribe fully to digitalisation. Take a look at how our education system has been disrupted by the lack of digital supervision during this time of pandemic.
A lot of educating hours have been wasted. The whatsapp application or email are not considered as online learning. Parents have to spend a lot of money on food rather than Internet data because of life hardship. On that contrary, the Ministry of Education must come up with a better guideline as to how schooling can be made more productive should this situation continues.
A total digital system must become the nation’s priority and radically implemented in three ways:
First, enhancing the Internet coverage especially in unserved and underserved areas. The gap must be addressed fast. The government should consider setting up the right companies to supervise Internet coverage, notably in rural areas.
Second, provide a centralised digital core to monitor and supervise all ministry directive in one portal, system or channel without any delay. This will reduce bureaucracy, enhance transparency and improve efficiency.
Third, we must open up competition for broadband supply. Only competition can secure efficiency and cheaper penetration. In fact, free penetration should be given to education, entrepreneurship and community services.
This Covid-19 is giving us the best lesson, that the government is not invulnerable to crisis and undefeated. Transformation to a digitalised government will be a radical move to Malaysia. Only that will enable the government to serve the people anytime and in any circumstances.
Dato’ Seri Utama Mohamad bin Haji Hasan
UMNO Deputy President