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New law puts noose around computer techies

Fri 2011-Dec-9 @ +08 10:21:08 am

A new law now being considered proposes to turn computing into a closed shop, where only those registered with the federal government can work, and it would be illegal for others to offer any kind of computing services.

A draft of the Bill, now being circulated in the industry, is provoking unrest among computer techies.

Tell them
Open Day at Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti)
Date : 13 Dec 2011 (Tuesday)
Time : 9.30am – 5pm
Place : Dewan Perhimpunan
Aras 1, Blok C4, Kompleks C
Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi
» Facebook event

Potentially, it could turn into an outlaw any boy genius who learned computer programming on his own and does freelance work while studying — or a journalist who learned PHP programming and offers to create and design web sites.

The draft Computing Professionals Bill proposes to create two classes of people with computer skills:

  • A lower class of “Registered Computing Practitioner” — people without degrees in computing; and
  • An upper class of “Registered Computing Professional” — graduates in computing

Companies would be registered as computing services providers.

Only “registered computing professionals” — computing graduates — would be allowed to offer services or work in areas defined by the government’s Critical National Information Infrastructure guidelines.

Furthermore, they must declare their areas of specialisation, and can only work within these areas — another bureaucratic and regulatory obstacle for computing people as new specialisations crop up or programming projects get “forked” into new branches.

The unrest among computer techies is reflected in a blog article by writer Erna Mahyuni » Killing techies the Malaysian way in which she said:

In other words, if I don’t register, it is technically illegal for me to even email ANY MALAYSIAN with even an IDEA for a tech-related project. It would be against the law for me to even sketch, on a napkin, my idea for a new app while having coffee with someone.
   Want to know the hilarious part? The country with a bill nearly identical to ours is…Nigeria. So we’re taking a leaf out of their book? Brilliant, Malaysia, totally brilliant.

Dinesh Nair, computer security expert, said on Twitter:

» A Facebook page “Malaysians Against Board of Computing Professionals Bill” has already gathered 230 “likes”.

The Bill would create a new layer of government bureaucracy with a Board of Computing Professionals to maintain a register and certify all those who wish to work in computing or offer computing services.

The new law would apply to computing work done within the ambit of the Critical National Information Infrastructure: this is a government policy guideline that states which areas are considered critical to national life. National defence and security is one area — and so is national image, which clearly ropes in media, advertising and PR.

The main sectors are: defence and security; banking and finance; information and communications; energy; transport; water; health services; government; emergency services; and food and agriculture

All companies and institutions in these areas would be considered as security areas, in terms of the CNII, whereby attacks on these companies’ computing systems would be considered to endanger national life — something becoming more real each day with reports of cyberwarfare attacks on defence, banking and health systems abroad.

Specific details of companies covered by this policy are not immediately available. However, for people in media, it’s worth remembering that New Straits Times Press and Utusan Melayu group, Angkasapuri, and Bernama are already considered to be security areas in times of crisis.

Text of the draft Bill » Full screen view


  1. storm permalink
    Fri 2011-Dec-9 @ +08 14:35:01 pm 14:35


  2. Fri 2011-Dec-9 @ +08 18:51:00 pm 18:51

    What pissed me off more is the requirement to pay in becoming a member of this so called union. If they want us to pay, then be transparent and tell us what will the fund be used for. It’s ridiculous having us fork out money to be a member if you ain’t going to use it to move the needs of technology forward. Or worst, computing professionals are more ahead than the group themselves.

    • no paper quals permalink
      Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 08:18:44 am 08:18

      What will they do with the money? Read carefully. They are empowered (i.e. WILL) to purchase property :-), pay themselves allowances and so on and so on. They are also empowered to appoint member who aren’t actually eligible to be registered.

      Makes me spit that as competent, but not paper holding IT professionals, some of the best people I know in the industry wouldn’t be eligible to work in it. Some people just have talent. What about the innovators? Go you have to apply to be registered for an area which doesn’t exist yet because you’ve thought of something new and groundbreaking? What would someone like Steve Jobs do? (Stupid question. He/she wouldn’t do it in Malaysia. duh)

      I wonder if Bill Gates will be required to register in case he comes to give another talk.
      What about foreign IT workers here? Will they have to register?

      I see this crashing and burning if enough people make enough noise. It is unwieldy and smacks of control rather than development of the industry.

  3. Abdullah 37 permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 00:36:41 am 00:36

    I would like to trace the origins of this utterly evil idea…. could it be that despicable dinosaur in charge of the MCMC? The loutish home minister? I can’t believe the idea first took form in Rosjib’s heads… but there are obviously a few extremely devious and desperate totalitarians in UMNO who are doing their utmost to crush every iota of discontent and dissent caused by their abysmal 50-year track record of corrupt and incompetent mismanagement.

  4. Nick permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 08:47:16 am 08:47

    Dinesh should consider himself a criminal – he should have included “stdio.h”, not “studio.h”… and, really, “main {” should be “void main (void) {” at the very least…
    I’d have to fire up a compiler to see whether that will compile without the semi-colon at the end of the printf statement…

    \but, seriously… This is troubling…

  5. Bill Stewart in San Francisco, US permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 10:01:20 am 10:01

    Does this apply to anybody who’s typing on a computer, or telling a microwave oven how long to cook their food, or setting their digital wristwatch? I bet the clerk who typed the proposed law for them didn’t have a Computer User’s license. Certainly anybody laying out a newspaper page is using computers these days, as is anybody using computerized equipment in the semiconductor, computer equipment manufacturing, or banking businesses.

    The idiot who proposed this law should be required to use manual typewriters and forbidden to use cell phones or touch-tone phones until he apologizes to his country and his political party. A politician in my home state of New Jersey wrote a similar law about 20 years ago, not because she understood the issues or wanted to support any particular industry, but because she’d been talking to a registered civil engineer the day before, who needed a license to build bridges or steel buildings and it seemed like a good idea. It passed one half of the legislature (because that politician was from the majority party, and nobody read the law very carefully.) Fortunately, a newspaper reporter heard about it and asked a local computer business what they thought about it, and they told other businesses to tell their senators to kill the bill – otherwise it would have been illegal for me to work there (even though I had a mathematics degree.)

    • Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 13:59:42 pm 13:59

      It’s not a computer users’ licence, it’s regulation of computer engineers: software and hardware.

  6. Ray Oswald permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 11:49:24 am 11:49

    What would be better is to conduct a study on past and current IT Projects carried out for the Government Departments by various companies in Malaysia. See if the Government received value for money and those Companies delivered as per specification. Is the project a success or just utter waste of tax payers money.

    Identify all those unscrupulous Vendors and ban them for life. I am sure by this measure we would have solved 80% of problem. Then the rest of the good guys can go on their business now that we have weed out the dangerous elements.

    I bet if MOSTI will do this, then we may have to Ban for life all the GLC companies :), for their bloated price and non delivery. Isnt there a saying in IT field that 80% projects are considered failure.

  7. Shams Fatani permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 13:55:40 pm 13:55

    eh…hello. I’m a forex global blogger…time has come for me to do programming in auto trading…c+,C++ and neural network after studying technical analysis. Am I be
    cited as the Computing Professionals Act 2011. Forex is financial and programming technical analysis is seem to be a computer professional. Forex blogging, technical analysis and programming is information techology. If this law is going to insult my life, my soul and my intelligence to let me become a melayu bodoh…malay with no future…..

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 14:00:53 pm 14:00

      Better attend the Mosti open day to speak up about the Bill.

  8. Shams Fatani permalink
    Sat 2011-Dec-10 @ +08 16:53:39 pm 16:53

    I might also do expert advisor auto trading global programming service writing forex expert advisor programming. A very limited field in bolehland malaysia. I see myself going to be a desident, underground, and guerilla programming activities…

  9. copperhead permalink
    Sun 2011-Dec-11 @ +08 11:22:51 am 11:22

    With that kind of law, Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak would not be able to start Apple Computer.

  10. Sun 2011-Dec-11 @ +08 16:25:42 pm 16:25

    I am strongly against this idiot laws…their are not helping entrepreneur like us.The government always ignore citizen comment.So do we want to vote them for next election for government that do not give us a chance for us to survive at this life.A lot people was jobless and start doing provide IT services to keep survive.

  11. Don permalink
    Sun 2011-Dec-11 @ +08 21:42:45 pm 21:42

    i suspect this Bill will be heavily edited to make it look harmless and then after approval and some amendments later, it will be illegal for any Malaysian to work on a computer without being registered first

  12. flasd permalink
    Sun 2011-Dec-11 @ +08 23:20:31 pm 23:20

    I’m pretty sure that this will have devastating consequences for international business.
    Foreign corporations will no longer be able to advise malasian ones.

    For example, certain financial institutions sign agreements to work with each other setting up networks, especially exchanges.

    No tech support would be allowed unless, the malasian corporation outsources to india or some other intermediary country.

  13. Tue 2011-Dec-13 @ +08 03:52:26 am 03:52

    Hahahaha. So the US doesn’t have a monopoly on stupid politicians wanting to regulate the series of tubes?


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