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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15 January 2011

Asean ICT Masterplan adopted

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The 10th Asean Telecommunications and IT Ministers (TELMIN) meeting here ended on a highly-successful note in Kuala Lumpur with the launch of the Asean ICT Masterplan as a definitive action plan to enhance connectivity among Southeast Asian nations and raise their competitiveness in the international arena.

With Malaysia playing host and facilitating deliberations on a common ground, the masterplan would provide clear action plans in the next five years for Asean to position its future economic growth with ICT as a key enabler in empowering life and the regional economy.

Details of the plan formalised during the meeting would serve as a blueprint to propel the ICT sector to greater heights and reinforce its role for crucial Asean integration by 2015.

ICT development in Asean has evolved at a phenomenal pace since its formative years.

There is now a new era of ICT brought about by its advancement and application in almost every facet of working and social lives.

In Asean today, ICT is a growth industry sector, employing more than 11.7 million people and contributing more than US$32 billion or more than three per cent to Asean's gross domestic product (GDP).

This is projected to grow significantly by 2015.

The four key outcomes outlined in the plan are ICT as an engine of growth for Asean countries, recognition of Asean as a global ICT hub, enhanced quality of life for the peoples of Asean and contribution towards Asean integration.

There are six strategic thrusts in the plan, namely, Economic transformation, People Empowerment and Engagement, Innovation, Infrastructure Development, Human Capital Development and Bridging the digital divide.

The digital divide will continue to be a challenge in Asean.

Minister of Information Communications and Culture, Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim was apt in cautioning that Asean, should not become complacent as there still remains a large segment of rural population which is under served and does not have the means to access the digital world.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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