3 March 2005 - Speech By Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, At Launch of Internet Industry Association of Singapore, Raffles City Convention Centre.
Speech By Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, At Launch of Internet Industry Association of Singapore on 3 March 2005, Raffles City Convention Centre.
Founding Chairman of IIAS, Mr. Anton Ravindran,
Founding members of IIAS,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my great pleasure to be here today for the launch of the Internet Industry Association of Singapore (IIAS).
2. Let me first congratulate the founding members of the IIAS for coming together to set up the Singapore Chapter of the Internet Industry Association. It is a good initiative in a number of ways. First, it comes from the industry itself, not from government. A group of industry professionals got together and decided to take the lead, bring many others into the act, and set up an organisation that can play an active role in shaping Singapore's Infocomm industry.
3. Industry bodies like the IIAS can provide constructive feedback and new ideas, and work together with government to develop the industry. The Association can also highlight challenges faced by members and suggest ways for the government to assist.
4. Most good things have humble beginnings. The Internet itself had its humble beginning in the early 1960s. It came about because a group of individuals saw vast potential in enabling computers to share information on research and development in scientific and military fields. Today, the Internet is ubiquitous. It has revolutionised the way we work, learn and play. Some of us even dream on the Internet.
5. In Singapore, the exponential growth in Internet usage is made possible with initiatives given by both government and industry to promote the use of Infocomm technologies in our daily lives. 7 out of 10 homes in Singapore possess a personal computer, and 6 out of 10 homes have access to the Internet1. We have come far but can go further still.
6. In schools, we are using the Internet as a platform for inquiry-based, student-centred learning. Many schools have e-learning portals and forums where virtual lessons are conducted and assignments submitted. The current generation in our schools is Internet savvy, in a way that few countries have seen. Fundamentally though, it has greatly expanded the world, for both teachers and students. Besides getting knowledge online that is not captured in textbooks, there is also tremendous scope for discussion, research and collaboration between students and researchers across countries.
7. The Government is also consciously plugging into the Internet to provide the public ease of access to services and to increase efficiency. To date, there are 1,600 government services available online.
8. If I may add, in the last few decades, we have successfully transformed Singapore into a global leader in the use and adoption of infocomm technology. We are now ranked first for networked readiness by World Economic Forum. We are also ranked second for e-Government Readiness in Accenture's eGovernment Leadership study2.
9. While infocomm technology continues to evolve and enrich our lives, there are issues and challenges to manage. Cyber security and fraud are among the key issues we face today. Industry bodies like IIAS can work with the IDA and other relevant government agencies on the Infocomm Security Masterplan launched recently to strengthen Singapore's cyber security.
10. As we gear up for the next phase of development in Infocomm, it is imperative for associations like IIAS to be actively involved in the process of developing plans for the industry. I would encourage IIAS to partner the government in the decision-making process through industry consultation and feedback.
11. Once again, I would like to commend the founding chairman of IIAS, and founding members of IIAS, for coming together on this excellent initiative.
Notes to Editor:
1 IDA's Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Household and Individuals 2003
2 Accenture 2004 e-Government Leadership Study, May 2004