MDC claims Web site flaws were a “slip up”

Posted on June 22, 1999 
Filed Under CNET, Julian

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.

It was explained MDC took over the update of the Web sites in November from site developer NeuroNet who were later informed to remove the flawed US mirror site, and another site developed for the 2nd International Advisory Panel meeting in February 1998.

MDC pulled the US mirror Web site following the CNET Asia report two weeks ago and yanked the latter site following today’s press conference.

The panel of international advisors is due to meet for the third time between July 8 and 10 at Cyberjaya within the MSC. The Web sites were the prime source of information on the Internet on the status of the project.

MDC has also ordered a revamp of the remaining MSC Web site following CNET Asia’s reports.

“The MSC site will no longer be just a Web site but a portal that will be a gateway to the MSC communities,” said MDC senior vice president Dr Arif Nun.

Dr Arif said the revamp would be developed in-house by a team headed by recent appointees Abdullah Kadir Bacha, who is chief knowledge officer, and Kamil Othman, senior manager of corporate communications.

“We are also bringing people in the next two weeks who can structure and package the information and manage the site full-time,” he added.

He said MDC will make special effort to ensure that in future the information posted is timely and accurate.

“It will be more interesting and interactive, so people can even chat with us. It will have relevant hotlinks and downloadable application forms. We hope it will not only allow people to get to know the MSC, but actively participate in its development. So watch the site,” he said.

Abdullah promised an initial make-over of the site in the next week, with improvements to content further down the road.

Dr Othman earlier named two new members to the panel: Dr Terry Cutler, director of Cutler and Company of Australia and Professor Wang Xuan, of Peking University.

Noted attendees this year include Acer chairman Stan Shih, Alcatel Alsthom chairman Serge Tchuruk, Silicon Graphics World Trade Corp chairman Bob Bishop, retiring Hewlett-Packard chairman Lewis Platt, British Telecom CEO Sir Peter Bonfield, Fujitsu chairman Tadashi Sekizawa, LG Electronics chairman Bon-Moo Koo, NTT president Jun-Ichiro Miyazu and Madge Networks chairman Robert Madge.

Dr Othman downplayed the fact only 13 members of the 43-member panel are attending the meeting. The 2nd panel meeting held last February was also poorly attended with only 13 members showing up.

“To me it’s a good number. Because we have a quite a good spectrum of companies to participate. As long as those coming are fully committed, then you get the full benefits of their wisdom.

“If all 43 were to attend, you couldn’t have in-depth discussions. You may have a number of personal agendas being placed on the table that may hamper discussions,” he said.

Dr Othman said author and management consultant Kenichi Ohmae, who played a key role in the set up of the MSC and the panel, had a multiple fracture as a result of an accident and would not attend.

Dr Othman also noted that panel member and futurist Alvin Toffler, who has informed CNET Asia he is boycotting the meeting, had not replied to the invitation.

On Toffler’s criticisms of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s handling of the issues revolving around the sacked deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Othman said Toffler was entitled to his personal views and the MDC could not stop him from doing so.

Dr Othman said the meeting is aimed at reviewing the status of the project which has been the subject of bad press lately because several key applications and infrastructure were delayed.

“We would also like to hear their feedback on the various incentives that we have put in place and re-examine our marketing strategies in view of changes that have taken place in the global community, ” he said.

“We will also tap the knowledge of members on evolving issues such as e-commerce, cyberlaws, human resource development, and the role of small and medium-scale enterprises,” he said.

Lucent Technologies COO Ben Verwaayen told CNET Asia via e-mail he is looking forward to the meeting and his company was still committed to the project.

Lucent is setting up a regional research and development GSM lab, and has offered a visiting professor from its reputable Bell Labs for the Multimedia University, both within the corridor.

“When Lucent commits to a market it commits to it for the long term, in good times and bad. At this point in time, it appears the worst is over and Malaysia is back on track,” he said.

Published in CNET, June 22, 1999.
By Julian Matthews, Malaysian correspondent

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