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Press Release

The Star Online
Changes aplenty in Malaysian cyber world

Dr Mohamed Awang Lah is known to be very passionate about the the world of the Internet as nearly three decades ago he was the man who pioneered Internet service in the country.

Over the last few years he has been vocal about the need for an open access network. He feels Malaysia needs an independent network for all companies to use.

He has left Jaring, a company he was instrumental in building recently, but Jaring over the years has had its own challenges.

He may return to the corporate world, but "not at the moment." For now he likes his "free and easy" life which allows him to unwind and watch "dramas unfold" on the screens.

Succeeding him at Jaring is Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Yaacob, who is no newcomer to the industry.

Maxis Bhd will also see its strong woman - not physically but in terms of financial numbers - Rossana Rashid, leaving as her contract expires in May. She has been there for eight years and succeeding her is Nasution Mohamed, the former CEO/MD of Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd.

Changes are inevitable in the sector that continues to evolve at a fast pace. There is always a need for talent as people in the sector are often enticed to join rivals.Changes are also happening at the industry's regulator. Some senior directors have retired and some others have been promoted. A reorganisation is said to be in the works to better align people to their jobs, and hiring to fill the gaps of those who have left and to meet demand as portfolios of some grow bigger.

Talking about leaving, late last year, even the most senior man - not in age - was said to have thrown in his letter. The reasons were not known but then some parties managed to talk him into staying.

Of late, the buzz is that Datuk Mohamed Sharil is back at the commission three days a week and would still remain advisor to the Minister two days a week. However, if you look at the organisational chart posted on the regulator's website, he still is the advisor and this has got the industry asking if he is back as COO.

The organisation chart dates back to December 6 and some of the senior directors who retired still have their smiling pictures on the chart.

That aside, talent management is a huge task but if someone has the expertise, foresight, and can execute, then he should be put to the test.

What and how the talent is managed at MCMC, it is up to them but the industry would like 'some certainty and direction' as they feel that 'there is a growing period of regulatory unpredictability.'

This may have arisen as much of the focus last year was to get the broadband penetration levels to reach 50%.

That was achieved and Syabas to all those who contributed and pushed it through but in the process a lot of other things were apparently overlooked.There is also lack of engagement between the players and the regulator and the regulator's role as facilitator is also diminishing.

The industry also wants answers, and fast answers like how long the 2.6G evaluation process will take, how and when the USP issue will be addressed, what is the status of the spectrum re- farming process, how the 700Mhz will be distributed and many others.

They also need clarity over the digital lifestyle concept,' as the last thing they want is 'priorities gone wrong which leads to sheer wastefulness.'

So, basically what's next?

An industry as robust as the telecoms cannot afford to take a break just because decisions are slow to come by, delivery is not timely, execution is not well planned and thought through, and evaluations take forever.

Bear in mind that the Prime Minister has said umpteen times that Malaysia needs to transform into a digital economy as ICT is central to economic growth, so things should be done at super-fast speed.

And some companies need to plan, predict, invest and guide as their investors are not just local but global funds.

Whatever the uncertainly, it does not bode well if we want to attract investors, and again, if I were to take Singapore as an example, some people will shriek.

But a player did point out that 'if you compare what IDC is doing versus us, there is a huge difference.'

So do we blame others if they say we are back at the crossroads?'

Maybe we need to reshape and refine.

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