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Exclusive: Coffee with Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDeC

AvantiKumar | Oct. 3, 2014
A chance meeting with Malaysian ICT agency MDeC's new leader, industry veteran Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, turns into an opportunity to view IT's role in building a developed knowledge economy by 2020.

It was pouring with rain while I was waiting for my next appointment at a coffee place outside Bangsar Shopping Complex in Kuala Lumpur, when I luckily spotted an old friend, Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, recently appointed as the chief executive officer of the national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation [MDeC].

She was easy to recognise as she has hardly changed since I first met her in 2007, when I first joined Computerworld. And as she too was waiting for her next meeting, I invited her to join me in a brief catch-up, which turned into an opportunity to briefly explore some of MDeC's strategies to ramp up ICT's role as a 'high impact enabler' for Malaysia, which is intent on become a fully developed knowledge economy by 2020.

A few words of introduction: on her appointment, MDeC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali said: "Yasmin is a proven leader with an impressive track record in the ICT industry.  Her strong credentials and extensive experience in the industry undoubtedly makes her the right leader to drive MDeC forward.  I look forward to working closely with Yasmin to continue to drive the nation's digital economy and accelerate MDeC's efforts to spur generational change via Digital Malaysia."

Yasmin's 25-year industry experience includes leadership positions as executive director of YTL e-Solutions; managing director of Microsoft Malaysia; regional manager of Dell Asia Pacific; and general manager of HP Sales Malaysia. She has also played active roles in various organisations such as the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Consortium of Services Malaysia and the Women Development Panel of SME Corp Malaysia.

She was recognised as PIKOM (Association of Computer and Multimedia Industry Malaysia)'s ICT "Personality of the Year" in 2009 for her leadership qualities and her tireless efforts to promote Malaysia to the global ICT community at large.

Dato' Yasmin Mahmood - CEO, MDeC

Photo - Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, Multimedia Development Corporation [MDeC]

Preamble Question: You are known as an industry veteran. Throughout your career, you have been with the private sector with the most recent being with Microsoft Malaysia and YTL. How does it feel to be on the public sector side now, and what excites you about working for the further good of the country?
Dato' Yasmin: I am extremely honoured to have been given the responsibility of steering MDeC and to do national service for our beloved country, Malaysia. It is a huge responsibility and I see myself as being the fourth runner who's just been passed the baton after all the great work done by my predecessors. I am building upon the great foundation that they've laid and it's now my turn to take it towards 2020 and beyond. When I wake up in the mornings, I fully appreciate that this is a very important period for Malaysia as we move toward the fulfilment of our country as a high income economy.

On the personal side of things, I was a young woman when the vision of MSC and Malaysia being a knowledge-based economy was set (back in 1996) with the ICT industry being a key enabler in this journey. I was there when the first brick was laid in Cyberjaya.

Since then, and on a personal level, I have also lived this vision, and I have made it my personal aim to do all that is within my power to help our country move to the next level. I have always been passionate in multiple areas and see ICT as a strategic national enabler.


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