MDeC drives government Open Data via partnership, national champions
By Digital News Asia April 3, 2015
- Partnership with Open Data Institute (ODI), founded by WWW creator Tim Berners-Lee
- 31 people from 6 ministries and 6 agencies identified to champion Open Data
IN an attempt to get government ministries and agencies to open up their data sets, Malaysia’s national ICT custodian the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has announced two Open Data initiatives.
The first is a strategic partnership with Open Data Institute (ODI), an independent, non-profit expert in Open Data; and the second is the launch of ‘National Open Data Champions,’ a group of selected individuals to advise and support government agencies on Open Data implementation and execution.
The announcement was made in collaboration with the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), MDeC said in a statement.
“Open Data is simply free, non-personal data by the government that can be used and shared by anyone,” said MDeC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood.
“Local entrepreneurs and businesses can use these data to derive trends and insights that can help them … on innovative business solutions and models – the primary goal of the National Big Data Analytics (BDA) Initiative that MDeC is driving,” she added.
Entrepreneurs and businesses can search and use data sets such as weather reports, bus schedules, price of essential goals, dengue hotspots others on www.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 (citizenry),” said Yasmin (pic).
“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,” she added.
ODI was founded by Sir Professor Nigel Shadbolt and the World Wide Web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The ODI is the key strategic advisor to the UK Government, which is ranked No 1 in the Open Data Barometer, part of the World Wide Web Foundation’s assessment method for Open Data that analyses the readiness, implementation and impact of Open Data initiatives around the world.
“The Open Data Institute looks forward to working with Malaysia to help improve the lives of Malaysian citizens using open data,” said its international director Richard Stirling.
“We feel that Malaysia already has success factors in place that will help it unlock economic, environmental and social value using open data. 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 raw material that can help government to become more efficient, new businesses to grow, and people to take advantage of new opportunities,” he added.
Working with MDeC, Mampu also appointed National Open Data Champions to expedite the Open Data adoption process within government ministries and agencies.
Thirty-one individuals have been identified, from six government ministries and six agencies including the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Finance, Department of Statistics Malaysia and Land Public Transport Commission.
These individuals are also responsible of identifying high impact projects and the data required for the development of solutions, as well as ensuring quality data can be used and shared by Malaysians.
“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,” said Dr Ali Hamzah, Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia.
“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,” he added.
Malaysia was included in the 2014 Open Data Barometer, and is currently ranked 41 among 86 countries, up nine places from its initial target of 50th by 2020, set in 2013.
The World Wide Feb Foundation, also founded by Berners-Lee, conducts an annual Web Index, which looks at how the Web empowers people and delivers socio-economic impact.
Malaysia has fared relatively well in that ranking, but poorly in whether it offered ‘free and open’ access. The Open Data initiatives come in the same week that Malaysian police arrested editors, the chief executive and the publisher of independent news portal The Malaysian Insider for alleged sedition.
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