KUALA LUMPUR – Former chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Datuk Seri Dr Halim Shafie, has been appointed as the new chairman of MCMC for a two-year term, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek announced today.
Halim, 65, is currently the chairman of Telekom Malaysia, a non-executive position he has held for close to six years after his stint with MCMC ended. He had served as MCMC chairman from April 2006 until May 2009.
Before joining MCMC, Halim was secretary-general of the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications where he served for six years.
“I am happy to announce that Datuk Seri Dr Halim Shafie has agreed to come on board again,” Ahmad Shabery told Bernama.
“His tenure will be for two years and I have assigned specific tasks for him to achieve. These include looking at good governance, which is in line with the government’s efforts for all ministries and agencies.”
“Among others, Halim will be working on decoupling the role of the chief executive officer (CEO) from the role of chairman of MCMC. I feel this is important for MCMC in ensuring continuity and the balance of power within the organisation,” he added.
According to the minister, Halim was also expected to review the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 towards a healthy cyber space.
“What happened during the East Coast floods last year should be prevented from happening again. Although the law is not likely to prevent it fully, we hope that people will think carefully before they share information which is unverified,” said Ahmad Shabery.
In a crisis situation, this sort of irresponsible behaviour might cause chaos and make relief work more difficult, he added.
Halim, who is also the chairman of the Multimedia University, is well placed to assist Ahmad Shabery in advancing the minister’s digital agenda for the nation.
The minister said: “This year, the focus will be on all aspects of digitisation for the country. I am keen to pursue a digital initiative which will cover both hard and soft infrastructure.
“We need this if Malaysia is to remain competitive as a nation. In addition to focusing on content development, we also need to constantly address issues like quality, speed and affordability.”
Ahmad Shabery also said that he would be expecting MCMC to play the lead role in implementing this and Halim’s wide experience in these areas would be an asset to the organisation, and in helping him progress this digital initiative.
“I had to persuade Halim to come out of his semi-retirement to help me with all these tasks. His first comment to me was that age was not on his side,” Ahmad Shabery said.
But the minister is confident that having served the nation for so long, Halim’s public service background, sense of commitment and dedication as well as his corporate experience gained in the last few years would augur well for MCMC and the industry.
“More importantly, once the MCMC Act 1998 is amended and the role of the chairman is decoupled from the role of the CEO, Halim will be helping me in the transition of the CEO post into the newly decoupled position,” he said.
On the former MCMC chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, the minister wished him well for the future, thanked him for his efforts during his tenure and said, “we all appreciate his commitment to the job.”
Halim obtained a Bachelor of Economics (Hons.) degree from the University of Malaya, Master’s in Economic Development, Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburg and PhD in Information Transfer from Syracuse University.
He started his career in the Education Ministry in 1972 which was followed by various appointments, including at the National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN) and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU).
His contributions to the public service include the setting up of INTAN’s National Computer Centre and Management Technology Centre.
Specific to this industry, Halim is credited for initiating programmes related to bridging the digital divide in Malaysia, formulating a framework for Ubiquitous Libraries and fostering the relationship between MCMC, the industry and academia through initiatives such as the MCMC Academy and the Consultative Committee on Spectrum Research.
His commitment and professionalism has accorded him accolades and awards from various state governments as well as the federal government.
His varied experience has also seen him on the boards of numerous agencies and companies in various capacities. – BERNAMA