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Official Launch of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)

Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Welcome Address Official Launch of IDA, Orchard Hotel

Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Welcome Address
Official Launch of IDA, Orchard Hotel

Singapore, 3 December 1999

DPM Lee Hsien Loong,
Minister Yeo Cheow Tong,
MOS John Chen,
MOS Lim Swee Say,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. Good morning and a warm welcome to the launch of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, or IDA for short.

2. IDA's mission is to help realize Singapore's vision to be a global info-communications hub and digital city. It is formed from the merger of the National Computer Board (NCB) and the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) with a combined staff strength of more than 800 under the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

3. First, I would like to thank the staff of the National Computer Board and the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore for their past contributions. They are a pool of talented people who bring along with them a legacy of fine work which IDA can build on.

4. Information Technology and Telecommunications have converged in a way that is reshaping the world. In a conceptual sense, the convergence of information and communications is not surprising. After all, information is of greatest value when communicated. And the faster and more widely information is communicated, the greater the value of that information. In a knowledge-based economy, the flow of information is vital and not just a convenience or luxury. One has only to look at the constant thirst for more and faster information flow in the various marketplace, for example the financial or commodity markets, to see how vital it is.

5. But it is only recently that the Internet has made feasible the communication of vast amounts of information amongst countless users at a very economic rate. Information and communications technology (ICT) has therefore become very closely inter-woven into the fabric of commerce, industry and our daily lives. The average Internet user can transfer funds, buy goods such as airline tickets, participate in auctions and so on by simply pointing and clicking the mouse. Businesses have found the Net to be a strategic asset. They have incorporated ICT into their marketing, financial and corporate communication processes. Indeed, the pervasiveness of the Internet has given birth to a new global economy commonly termed the Net-Economy.

6. For Singapore to maintain its competitive edge and remain a key player in the global economy, we must encourage the growth of a strong ICT sector and exploit its technology by embedding it into our various economic transaction processes, such as e-commerce, e-banking, e-purchasing, etc. In short, Singapore has to ride the new wave of progress made possible by ICT and become an active citizen of the global Net-Economy.

7. The process of becoming a key player in the global Net-Economy must be primarily driven by the private sector. The role of IDA in this process is a promotional one. IDA will be working closely with the industry to find ways to help the industry move towards the desired outcome. Hence, many Board members of IDA are active members from the industry. In addition, IDA will continually seek feedback through other formal or semi-formal channels to ascertain the progress of its promotional efforts.

8. In performing its regulatory role, IDA will be guided by the objective of achieving a regime of free and fair competition with minimal barriers to entry for new participants. Barriers to entry create inefficiencies and keep out innovative or better products. Lower barriers will bring about efficiency gains, provide consumers with more choice and, in the longer term, promote a healthy and world-class competitive ICT industry in Singapore.

9. This, then, is a thumbnail sketch of the mission and role of IDA.

10. It is now my pleasure to invite our guest-of-honour, DPM Lee Hsien Loong, to address us.

11. Thank you.