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News & Highlights
ICT Award-Winners look ahead

By H. AMIR KHALID
The Star, 3 Sep 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: The university professor wants to see software become an engineering discipline, with an institute setting rigorous standards. The student aims to become a captain of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. 

And the open source software developer is a physician who wants her colleagues to become more proficient at ICT, so that they can care for patients and administer their medical facilities better. 

These were among the winners at the fifth annual ICT Excellence Awards, given out by the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry, the Malaysian National Computer Confederation (MNCC) and telecoms carrier Maxis Bhd. 

Dr Tengku Mohamad Tengku Sembok, winner of the Excellent ICT Teacher award, is dean of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's computer science faculty, and sole author or co-author of over 100 academic papers. 

He has also chaired many state and Federal Government committees tasked with planning ICT strategies and framing policies, and implementing large-scale national ICT projects. 

What Dr Tengku Mohamad, a teacher for 27 years, said he hoped to achieve next was the creation of an institute of software engineering, which would set professional standards for software engineering and finally put them on par with other kinds of engineering. 

The institute, as he envisioned it, would bring together the academic knowledge needed for a proper grounding in computer sciences, and the ability to work in real-world computing environments that employers required. 

“It's something that no other country has managed before,?he pointed out. “And it would advance the standards of our ICT graduates, as well as help address the graduate-industry mismatch.?nbsp;

Meanwhile, for Sarawakian Toh Kok Liang, winner of the Excellent ICT Student award, his plan is to climb the corporate ladder. 

A consistent high achiever at Multimedia University, Toh graduated this year with a First Class Honours degree in Information Technology, and was the only Malaysian awarded a Youth and Knowledge scholarship by German technology giant Siemens to take his masters degree in communications engineering in Germany. 

“I want to become a leading figure in the ICT industry and help this country achieve Vision 2020,?he said. 

Dr Molly Cheah, president of Primary Care Doctors' Organisation Malaysia or PCDOM ( www.pcdom.org.my ), a non-governmental organisation of general practitioners, won the Open Source Software Award for PCDOM Primacare , which she and her organisation were now planning to distribute nationwide. 

Dr Cheah said that the software filled a gap in the ICT solutions available to the medical profession. 

Many existing proprietary solutions addressed such things as inventory and billing requirements for large hospitals, and had a high total cost of ownership, including licence fees that only a large business could bear. 

By contrast, Primacare was intended for the typical private clinic, which was a small business with few PCs and little budget for expensive solutions. 

Dr Cheah said Primacare would cost a typical clinic RM1,000 for training and implementation services, and only about RM2,000 per PC. 

Dr Cheah, Toh and Dr Tengku Mohamad were among a group of six award-winners. Others were Kuala Krai, Kelantan post office manager Zakiah Yusof, Local Community ICT champion for her support of the Pusat Internet Desa (PID) programme operating out of her post office; Sekolah Menengah Methodist Kuala Lumpur, for Best School Website; and I-Navigate Sdn Bhd for Most Creative Local Mobile Application for its myCar service, which provided short message service (SMS) alerts to car drivers and owners. 

All the winners took home RM5,000 apiece, except Toh, whose prize was RM3,000. This year, only a first prize was awarded in each category. 

Also winners in the Special Awards category were the first, second and third prizes for PIDs, which went to the rural Internet centres in Simpang Empat, Perlis; Tanjung Malim, Perak; and Kuala Krai, respectively. 

In the Cyberlinq Web Community programme for schools, jointly organised by Maxis and Star Publications (M) Bhd, SK Sena from Perlis was selected from schools which had attended Maxis Cyberkids Camps and the MEWC's USP Schools programme, while SK Daha in Serian, Sarawak, won the best school website competition. 

SJK ST Philomena Convent from Ipoh won in the primary schools category while SMK King George from Seremban won in the lower secondary schools category; Kolej Tunku Kursiah won in the upper secondary category.