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Access to an e-Lifestyle for Every Singaporean

Ms Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Opening Remarks at Corporate Citizenship in Action - An Appreciation, Suntec Singapore

Ms Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer,
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Opening Remarks at Corporate Citizenship in Action - An Appreciation, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 18 October 2000

1. Thank you for being with us today to recognise the efforts of the business community to partner together to develop Singapore as a vibrant info society for all.

Access to Overcoming the Divine

2. As Singapore moves ahead in competing to become a leading infocomm hub and e-economy, infocomm technology is becoming an integral part of the lives of Singaporeans. Banking has gone online, shopping has gone online, the school curriculum is going online, photos you have taken using your digital camera can be edited immediately and sent by email to friends and family. Even durians, mooncakes and birthday cakes are now offered online.

3. But not everyone in Singapore is infocomm-literate, and not everyone has easy access to PCs or other means of going onto the Internet. As infocomm technology becomes pervasive in our society, it is important that we work to prevent a Digital Divide in society.

4. A big component of this effort is access and affordability. The people's accessibility to infocomm technology is at the core of fulfilling our vision of an info society. There are of course other factors: for instance, individuals have to want to try the technology and test the benefits of a e-lifestyle. But the starting point is availability and affordability of access.

5. We recognise that one agency like IDA, or even the Government, cannot work on this on our own. Dot.coming the people sector will only be successful if industry and community groups form strategic partnerships to work on planning and implementation, as well as to create specific programmes. There are many reasons for this. Let me name a few.

6. First, society is varied so a one-size-fits-all that is typical of a centralised approach is likely to not meet the needs of different groups in society. Targeted programmes tailored to the needs of a specific group are likely to work better.

7. Second, we do not have a monopoly on ideas or on wisdom. Widespread participation will create new and exciting possibilities. Third, the dynamism, initiative and energy of the industry and the community can make all the difference between just a great idea and one that blossoms into a successfully implemented programme.

Partnership in Action

8. I therefore want today to applaud the demonstration of active corporate citizenry from the industry. I would like to thank Microsoft, Intel, SingTel, Speednames, Lexmark and SGNIC who are collectively committing over S$3 million to help Singapore bridge the Digital Divide.

9. I would also like to use today's opportunity to encourage more corporations to join these pioneers to ensure that every Singaporean has access to an e-lifestyle. IDA is offering partnership opportunities for more corporate organisations to help Singapore reach our goal of an info society. Our corporate partners are recognised by three main tiers of partnership, namely:

Stellar Partner - for partnership not exceeding S$499,000;

Lunar Partner - for partnership that ranges from S$500,000 to S$ 1 million;

Solar Partner - for partnership that amounts S$1million and above


10. Allow me to highlight a few major achievements that strategic partnerships in the past have helped in bridging the Digital Divide.

The PC Reuse Scheme

11. Since the scheme was initiated in November '99, more than 1,450 PCs have been deployed to needy families, community clubs, half-way houses and welfare homes. This has been made possible through collaboration by 7 organisations. They are the Association of Muslim Professionals, the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Enable 2000, IT Services Co-op, Mendaki, North-East CDC and the Singapore Scout Association. These 7 organisations have contributed substantial time, energy and resources through voluntary and community participation to refurbish and deploy PCs.

12. Going forward, our target is to refurbish and upgrade 2,500 PCs and deploy them by 2002 to reach these households.

EasyPC Plan

13. Another partnership to overcome the Digital Divide was forged in May this year when NTUC and People PC launched its "$1-a-day" PC ownership plan. The goal is to enable 100,000 households, over the next three years, to own a PC. Since its launch, more than 12,000 NTUC members have indicated their interest in taking up this innovative plan.

Looking Ahead

14. Looking forward, we will be responding to the Prime Minister's National Day Rally call for a National IT literacy programme to help every Singaporean be IT-literate and able to go onto the Internet. The Ministry of Manpower is leading the planning for this effort with active involvement from People's Association, the National Trades Union Congress, Productivity and Standards Board, the National Library Board, and of course, IDA.

15. We hope to be able to start implementation of pilots in various areas soon, with announcement of the full programme later on.


16. I would like to conclude by reiterating the message that the task of bridging the digital divide through improved access is critical to Singapore's transition into a progressive info society. I want to thank Microsoft, SingTel, Intel, Lexmark, Speednames and SGNIC for your contribution and your leadership. The call now goes out to others corporate citizens to join us. Your involvement will make a difference to Singaporeans.

17. Once again, on behalf of the IDA, my thanks to all our partners, past and present, for your invaluable support and contribution.

18. Thank you.