Monday, March 17, 2008

Malaysia's press freedom ranking plunges

Malaysia's press freedom ranking plunges

Posted in Malaysia Explorer by Oon Yeoh on 2007/10/23 00:50:24

Last year when the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index was announced, it showed Malaysia jumping 21 spots to 92. This was the country's best ranking since the index began in 2002.

This year, though, Malaysia's ranking tumbled 32 spots to 124, its worst position yet. This puts the country almost in the bottom quarter of the 169 countries surveyed.

The RSF report does not go into detail the situation in each country but Malaysia is mentioned alongside Thailand, Vietnam and Egypt for "serious, repeated violations of the free flow of online news and information" as key reason for its low rankings.

"We are concerned about the increase in cases of online censorship. More and more governments have realised that the Internet can play a key role in the fight for democracy and they are establishing new methods of censoring it," RSF noted in its report.

Recent high profile cases of a pair of political bloggers being sued by editors from a newspaper group as well the police questioning of a prominent political website operator and the jailing of a webmaster from an opposition party probably factored significantly in RSF's assessment of the country.

I guess the silver lining to this dismal news is that it shows that online media, even in its nascent form, is starting to become effective enough for the authorities to try to stifle it.

MALAYSIA: World Bank calls for university autonomy

MALAYSIA: World Bank calls for university autonomy
Date: 16 December 2007

Public universities in Malaysia need to have more autonomy in the move towards becoming world class, says a 2007 World Bank report. According to The Star, the report argues that a balance must be reached between higher education expansion and improving quality, and recommends relaxing the rules public universities have to conform to in their management.

That, says Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy: Building a world-class higher education system, “will allow them to focus on important institutional development issues”. The report also argues that Malaysian universities need to build more industry links, that teaching approaches are didactic rather than interactive, and undergraduates are not exposed enough to research.
Full report on The Star site

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Internet Users in Asia Pacific region

In the Asia Pacific region, Japan has the highest number of Internet users, estimated at 55.9 million followed by 33.7 million in China. Malaysia has 6.5 million users (Table 1). However, in a 2004 survey, the number of Internet users in Malaysia has increased to 8,187,000 (Jaring, 2004).

Table 1: Internet Users in Asia (AEN Survey Research, 2002).

Country No. of Internet users
Japan 55,930,000
China 33,700,000
Republic of Korea 24,380,000
Malaysia 6,500,000
Indonesia 4,000,000
Thailand 3,536,000
Philippines 2,000,000
Singapore 1,500,000
Vietnam 1,010,000
Brunei 35,000
Laos PDR 10,000
Myanmar 10,000
Cambodia 10,000

In terms of the growth rate, e-learning revenues in Japan are estimated to surge from 82.3 billion Yen in 2003 to 198.5 billion Yen in 2006 (E-Learning, undated). In the Asia Pacific region, between the period 2000-2005, China will have the highest growth rate in e-learning for the corporate education sector (41 percent) followed by the Republic of Korea (31 percent). Malaysia’s growth rate is 16 percent