Photo - (From left) Dato' Seri Zainal Rahim bin Seman, Director General of MAMPU; Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDeC; Richard Stirling, International Director of ODI in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
To drive Open Data and speed up the adoption Big Data analytics (BDA) among ministries and agencies in Malaysia, the national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has signed an agreement with the UK's non-profit organisation Open Data Institute and also announced a National Open Data Champions initiative.
"Open Data is simply free, non-personal data by the government that can be used and shared by anyone," said MDeC's chief executive officer, Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, speaking during the official announcement in Putrajaya, which was made in collaboration with the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), and officiated by the chief secretary to the Government of Malaysia.
"Local entrepreneurs and businesses can use these data to derive trends and insights that can help them inform on innovative business solutions and models - the primary goal of the National Big Data Analytics (BDA) Initiative that MDeC is driving," said Yasmin.
She said entrepreneurs and businesses will be able to search and use data sets such as weather reports, bus schedules, price of essential goals, Dengue hotspots, among others (available on data.gov.my, Malaysia's official Open Data portal.
"Certain data released by Government agencies and ministries open up an endless field of opportunity to all sectors, giving anyone the chance to innovate and create new solutions which can benefit both businesses and the rakyat (the people)," said Yasmin. "MDeC's strategic partnership with ODI and collaboration with MAMPU is a great example of private public partnership, which is essential in accelerating BDA adoption on a national scale."
The Open Data Institute's international director, Richard Stirling, said, "The Open Data Institute looks forward to working with Malaysia to help improve the lives of Malaysian citizens using open data. "
"We feel that Malaysia already has success factors in place that will help Malaysia unlock economic, environmental and social value using open data," said Stirling. "Our collaboration will include helping Malaysia to develop its open data strategy, its capability and its capacity for innovation. Providing open data involves making that data available for anyone to access, use and share. This data becomes a raw material that can help government to become more efficient, new businesses to grow, and people to take advantage of new opportunities."
Open Data Champions
Yasmin said the National Open Data Champions initiative will involve a group of selected individuals to advise and support government agencies on Open Data implementation and execution.
She said MDeC and MAMPU have appointed 31 individuals from six government ministries and six agencies as the National Open Data Champions to drive the Open Data adoption process within respective government ministries and agencies. These 31 individuals will identify high impact projects and the data needed to develop solutions to deliver quality data to be used by Malaysians.
The six government ministries and six agencies include the national regulator Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (MCMC), Ministry of Finance, Department of Statistics Malaysia and Land Public Transport Commission.
"The launch of the champions today is a show of Malaysia's commitment towards Open Government Data that not only benefit the economy, but will improve efficiency and boost productivity of the public sector. Open Data increases government transparency and allows more engagement between the Government and the Rakyat, enabling and empowering them to be more directly informed and involved in democratic decision-making" said YBhg Tan Sri Dr Ali Bin Hamzah, chief secretary to the Government of Malaysia
The Open Data Institute (ODI), founded by Sir Professor Nigel Shadbolt and the World Wide Web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, advises the United Kingdom government, which is ranked number 1 in the Open Data Barometer, on key strategic moves. For the very first time, Malaysia was included in the 2014 Open Data Barometer. Malaysia is currently ranked 41st among 86 countries - up nine places from its initial target of 50th by 2020, set in 2013.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.