Net abuse: storm in Malaysia’s tea cup

By Julian Matthews
June 25, 1999

Malaysian Internet users have been on the receiving end of bad press lately. From the focus of such incidents by local media, one senses that the Ugly Malaysian Net User is alive and thriving. Hacking, spamming, mail bombing, spreading rumors, libel, credit card fraud and Internet scams. Malaysian users appear to have become conversant in all forms of Net abuse.

The offensive stance taken by some sectors of government has lent credence to the belief that local users are an irresponsible lot.

Three weeks ago, Ibrahim Ali, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was quoted as saying that Umno, the dominant political party, was mounting a legal campaign against Internet Web sites critical of the government under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said some 3,000 pages have been downloaded from the Internet containing defamatory material against the Government and Umno.

Ibrahim said Umno’s anti-defamation committee discovered the pages over a two-month period and the subject matter ranged from independence of the judiciary to accusations of corruption. “I don’t rule out the possibility that the Web sites are being funded by foreign elements, perhaps using students to do the work,” said Ibrahim.

He said the committee was keeping tabs on the allegations and may take legal action, but conceded it was difficult to trace the Web masters because many sites were based overseas.
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MDC claims Web site flaws were a “slip up”

By Julian Matthews
Tuesday, June 22 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the agency in charge of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, has ordered a revamp of its Web site.

Executive chairman Dr Othman Yeop said the mistaken inclusion of four prominent personalities listed as international advisors to the MSC project was the result of an oversight.

“There was a slip up. The names were proposed to the Prime Minister’s Department but had not yet been approved,” he said.

The four non-members were John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, John Doerr, founding partner of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Dr Robert Metcalfe, vice president of technology at International Data Group, and Prince Al-Waleed Talal Al-Saud, chairman of Kingdom Holding.
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Malaysia launches venture capital fund for MSC

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia is launching a RM120 million (US$31.6 million) venture capital fund, the first of its kind specifically for the Multimedia Super Corridor project.

The fund will be set up by project facilitator Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) and government investment arm Khazanah Nasional.

MDC executive chairman Dr Othman Yeop Abdullah said the fund will be targeted at small and medium-scale local start-ups and foreign-local joint-venture companies that have committed to the project.
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Malaysian Web sites still not error-free

By Julian Matthews
Friday, June 18 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–The government of Malaysia touts the benefits of the Internet through its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative but is still unable to meet a basic requirement of the medium–regularly updated Web pages.

Ironically, Web sites maintained by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the government agency in charge of the MSC, were among those found wanting.

Last week, CNET Malaysia pointed out that two lists of members of an international advisory panel for the MSC were not updated and even contained false information.

Four prominent personalities were mistakenly listed as advisors to the panel, while others were not given correct managerial designations, even though some of these had changed over a year ago.

Following the story, MDC made an attempt to correct the situation. It took down its mirror site in the US which had incorrect information, and updated its Malaysian site.

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Teaching ‘em new tricks

By Anita Devasahayam

OLD folks do not need that much persuasion to get online once they overcome the fear of technology, or say a group of young people In.Tech spoke to.

Many of them believe that the Internet offers senior citizens an avenue to explore new places and a chance to communicate with members of their family who live elsewhere.

But they also think that older folks must change their perception of the Internet as being limited to teenagers and yuppies. Instead, they should view it as another way of obtaining more information, or as a substitute to newspapers, magazines or even the telephone.

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The whys and wherefores

By Anita Devasahayam

SILVER-haired surfers may not be that common in Malaysia yet, but the trend is catching on fast here.

Just browse community sites like Geocities, Tripod and Xoom, and you will be amazed by the number of local senior citizens who have built homepages there.

They’re just ordinary people who are fascinated with the Internet, and most of them only started using computers after they’d retired.

While a few senior citizens take to computing like ducks to water, there are many more who still feel alienated from the technology. There are many barriers — lack of awareness, time, expenses, or just plain fear of taking that first step.

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A community of seniors

By Anita Devasahayam

NICHOLAS Negroponte, director of MIT’s Media Lab’s, once predicted that the initial population of the Internet would be under the age of 20, and above age 50.

He may be right after all — in the United States, numerous websites have been set up to cater to senior citizens.

Sites like SeniorNet offer members online computer classes, as well as discounts on software and computer related products.

The growing “silver surfer” population has also prompted big companies like IBM, Bell Atlantic, Intel and Microsoft to kick off volunteer programmes to help senior folk learn to use computer technologies. These programmes generally also include discount rates for the purchase of computer hardware and software.
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Never too old

By Anita Devasahayam

THERE is a story going around about a father who called up a tech support line to get some help.

“My 10-year old son and I are trying to set up our computer for Internet access,” said the father.

“Okay sir, could you please get your son on the line,” said the tech support guy.

Yes, it would seem that the young have taken over the computer world, and they rule the Internet. They can adapt easily to new changes in technology, and they have an uncanny affinity for it.

Old folks, well, they’re still struggling to understand how to programme their VCRs.

Not quite true anymore. All over the world, an increasing number of senior citizens are getting into technology, and many are now online.

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Youngsters set to soar

CHILDREN (5-12 years) and teenagers (13-18 years) are now the two largest growth sectors of the Internet population, market research group, Jupiter Communications said in Washington last week.

It added the two sectors will account for some US$1.3bil (RM4.9bil) worth of e-commerce by 2002.

It said by 2002 some 21.9 million children and 16.6 million teens would be online.

And although they will directly account for less than 5% of the online shopping revenues forecast for 2002, the research group said that will increase.

“Today’s kids are sophisticated and see the Internet as a preferred tool for information gathering — commerce is a natural progression,” Jupiter analyst Anya Sacharow said.

Published in In.Tech, Star Publications (M) Bhd

Malaysia yanks flawed list of advisors

By Julian Matthews
Monday, June 14 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–Official Web pages containing names of industry icons purportedly being members of an international advisory panel for Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor project were suddenly removed Friday.

The Multimedia Development Corporation, the government agency which is responsible for maintaining the lists, pulled the entire US mirror site and revised another list at its Malaysian Web site.

In a statement issued on Friday, it said the US mirror site was “now defunct and its contents are no longer valid.”

MDC did not explain how the false information came to be included on the MSC Web sites–which are the official sources for updates on the progress of the project.

When contacted by CNET Malaysia, an MDC spokesperson could not explain why the oversight occurred and refused to speculate.
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