For the past thirty years the Malaysian economy has been said to contribute well to the progress of the
nations. However, the intensification of global economic activity and the extensive use of ICTs in
recent years are challenging government's effort to further develop Malaysian society. The
competition posed by the low wage economies such as China and Vietnam have made the government
realise the importance of engaging in high-skill and high technology industries. It is hoped this will be
the basis of attracting more FDI (foreign direct investment) in order to help the country to compete in a
globalised world. Using Vision 2020 as its targeted vision, the government has decided to engage in
the use of ICTs and introduce many policies pertaining to it. This thesis is mainly concerned with the
study of ICT policy in Malaysia and its consequences for both the economy and society.
The investigation focuses on the three dimensions: 'ICTs and economic growth', 'ICTs and inequality'
and 'the element of neo-colonialism'. Two approaches are used to achieve the objectives of the study.
They are secondary analysis and semi-structured interviews. This thesis is largely dependent on library
research and secondary sources such as government official policies and data. Semi-structured
interviews are used as a means to support or test some of the arguments and evidence collected
throughout the analysis and discussion. For the interviews, three groups of people were identified:
policy developers, implementers and evaluators. These people are those involved directly and
indirectly with ICT policy establishment and implementation.
The findings show that policy pertaining to ICTs in Malaysia contributes to economic growth, but the
consequences of this have resulted in greater division within society. Although some of the divisions
such as gender and ethnicity are narrowing down, the gap in important areas such as regions and class
differences, is becoming wider. The widespread use of ICTs might contribute to the further
establishment of democracy in Malaysia, but the increasing number of foreign entities such as FDI and
foreign workers, cultural hybridisation and to some extent cultural doniination are contributing to neocolonialism
in Malaysia. This has obvious consequences for the government's effort to create a
Malaysian national identity. An important finding of this work is that there are contradictions within
ICT policy between the effort to develop the economy and society.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.