Tag Archives: 1Malaysia

Abandoned 1Malaysia Futsal Courts – Lesson for GIS Project Planning

Expecting IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level without on-going operating expenditure (OPEX or OE) funding is just not realistic

Many IT facilities are in similar sad state of disrepair

Malaysia The Star daily recently reported that millions (of Ringgit or RM) go down the drain when most of the 1Malaysia futsal court facilities around the country were left unattended for long time and is in a sad state of disrepair. It was reported the crew visited more than 100 of 1Malaysia futsal courts around Selangor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah. Many were found neglected with some clearly never having been maintained since the day they were constructed.

According to the paper there are 2200 (later was corrected by official there are about 646 futsal courts and the rest are multi-purpose halls) 1Malaysia futsal cum basketball courts that have been built around the country for the community at about RM150,000 (app. US$46,000) each since 2009 as part of Youth and Sport Ministry’s noble initiative to promote futsal, basketball and other sports among youngsters.

This interesting report caught my attention and also sparked some discussions on social media. I’m not a futsal player and did not really check any of these facilities. However if we ponder a while and look around us, it is not difficult to uncover many IT projects/facilities that faced the similar faith.

Ironically (for the benefits of those that are unaware), any facilities (regardless of futsal courts or IT labs with hardware and software) need ongoing up-keeping to ensure the facility is always in proper working condition. From IT perspective, this refers to maintenance or upgrade of computer hardware, storage, software version, etc. It does not take a genius to figure out that a sudden rush of adrenaline to allocate development expenditure (DE) funding to build but forget about the on-going operation expenditure (OE) funding is the culprit behind these failures. Initiating an IT capital expenses (CAPEX) project without proper care given to aspect of on-going ownership, managing, maintaining and operating cost (OPEX) is not sustainable. Bottom line, expecting the IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level but without on-going maintenance allocation is just not realistic.

Back to the 1Malaysia futsal court issue, according to the daily,  there is no plan by the Sport and Youth Ministry to repair the damaged courts, as it will cost about RM18.7 million annually and the ministry failed to get funding from Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for the repairs.

Again this is nothing new to us. As IT savvy Malaysian, we are used to see many agencies have to abandon their aged IT systems after a once upon a time glorious official launch of the then state-of-the-art system due to lacked of maintenance. No wonder we are famous with first world infrastructure but third world maintenance. Malaysia Boleh ! (Loosely translated as Malaysia Can Do, or Malaysia Capable – a common slogan in Malaysia to instil never give up attitude).

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Malaysia Budget 2014: My Wish List from Geospatial Perspective

Budget 2014

Malaysia Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will table the 2014 budget in Parliament today. Here are some of my wish list from geospatial perspective:-

A.      On Better Governance and Transparency

  1. Greater Transparency from GIS perspective: Strengthen monitoring of the distribution and use of all allocated funds by setting up an online geospatial map and executive dashboard showing budget allocation and progress by location.
  2. Safer Malaysia and better law enforcement from GIS perspective: to combat rising crime, enforcement agencies need to be equipped with intelligence-led policing system that can pro-actively preventing and resolving crimes by enabling effective data fusion/ intelligence analysis for both crime and investigation analysis
  3. More affordable homes from GIS perspective:  In effort to tackle speculative property prices and provide more affordable housing – government can promote greater transparency by setting up an online geospatial portal showing  data on the transaction prices of properties in easy to visualize intelligence web map that support location analytics and accessible by public through their smartphones, tablets or web browsers.
  4. Better public transport from GIS perspective: Improve land transport integration by setting up a geospatial system that has all land transport networks i.e. roads, pedestrian, LRT, rail, special motorcycle lanes, etc. with necessary details for integrated planning and improvement

B.      On Strengthening Public Sectors

  1. Set up National Geospatial Council consists of key personnel from government sectors and under purview of Prime Minister department or Ministry of Finance  to spearhead data sharing and collaboration among government agencies
  2. Assign at least one (1) Geospatial Information Officer responsible to plan and manage geospatial data in all government agencies
  3. Allocation to support continuous geospatial literacy enhancement training for civil servants in all government sectors in view of the rapid technology advancement in software, infrastructure and hardware components
  4. Allocation to hire or appoint industry subject matter experts that are well verse in geospatial knowledge to work in agencies (i.e. MaCGDI, MAMPU, PEMANDU, PM Dept, MoF, etc) that can shape the policy and direction for local geospatial industry
  5. More allocation for better maintenance of Geospatial IT systems at both federal and state levels
  6. Sufficient funds be set aside for state government to set up (for those State that have yet to have GIS Unit) and maintain state geospatial/GIS unit (for those state with existing GIS Unit)

C.      On Strengthening Private Sectors

  1. Unlocking economic value through open data and information sharing by allowing free access of web services to meaningful/accurate/timely/up-to-date/large-scale/non-sensitive/nationwide basemap and  imagery through intelligent web GIS technology
  2. Include Geospatial and IT as part of program under the 1MET (1Malaysia Entrepreneurship Program) to promote more knowledge economy and job creation

D.      On Strengthening Educational Sectors

  1. Allocation to support inclusion of geodesign and geospatial information technology education in the education sectors (tertiary, secondary and primary level) in line with government’s aims to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education because GIS is STEM.

Standard GIS Basemap – OneMap Malaysia (1Malaysia Map)

Sample information product from OneMap Singapore

Sample information product from OneMap Singapore

There’s a saying that goes: “The way to man’s heart is through his stomach.” Because man loves food and cooking for a man is a sure way to win his affection.

I have another saying that “the way towards national GIS is through standardized basemap.” Simply because GIS users need map data and maintaining a standard basemap for every GIS users is definitely a sure way to ensure data interoperability.

However, what is a national basemap? While the map contents or layers can be the more the merrier, but there are some basic elements that needs to be included as foundation of basemap. While some might need specific data pertaining to their area of interest, most GIS users simply need a good street map that contains the following basic layers :-

  • Street network & hub with name i.e roads, railway, LRT, stations, airports, port, etc.
  • Land use area with name, building outline, parcel layout, address
  • Location and name for important places or point of interest (POI)
  • Administrative boundaries with names – national, state, district, mukim, postcode, etc
  • Hydrography and other natural features with name i.e. rivers, lakes, etc.
  • Imagery i.e. satellite images, aerial photos, etc if any

These basic layers can form a pretty good basemap similar to street maps or city maps that can support most GIS activities. Other Agencies can add more textual data or attributes to these geometry (in the form of points, line and polygon) and make them more meaningful for their own purpose. The main point is as long as everyone is using the same basemap as their references, then we are on the right track towards national GIS.

This is pivotal because GIS is model after the real world objects and organize them into layers of information. The ability to overlay the information correctly is fundamental in data sharing and collaboration. In other words, it is useless to have different layers of information from Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Education (MoE), and Public Work Department (JKR), only to find out that each and every one is maintaining their own version of basemap with different level of details, degree of accuracy and map scale. Hence the location of hospital, schools and road networks might appear correctly in respective GIS system but not the case when other users wish to overlay all these information for other planning purpose.

Imagine different parts of a car engine were manufactured by different companies without adhering to a common design layout or framework. Once the separate engine parts are finally ready, it might not fit into the car chassis compartment because different manufacturers are using different type of bolts and nuts, materials etc that suits them best without the bigger picture in mind.

Singapore Land Authority (SLA) started a very good initiative few years back and named it OneMap Singapore. You can take a look at their website at http://www.onemap.sg/index.html

OneMap Singapore is a web-based integrated map system for government agencies in Singapore to deliver location-based services and information for the general public. Many government agencies collaborated and continue contributing information to enrich the data content. Among the services available on this portal include: find an address; get travel directions; find a school to enrol your child; query land ownership and land lot information; check on historical property prices; find properties for lease; find free public wireless hotspots, etc

SLA as land base map custodian in Singapore makes their map available for all government and private organizations. In return, public and private organization will make use of this standardize basemap to add in their operational layers, i.e. Ministry of Education will link the basemap to their website and add in more educational related information, Ministry of Heath will make use of the basemap to add in more healthcare information, other agencies will make use of the basemap to add in their coverage area, zoning, etc. At the end of the day, even though SLA offers their data for free, but they emerge as the biggest winner because they are managing a critical national geospatial assets that all agencies will depend on. They are holding the car chassis design framework layout which enable all other departments to simultaneously but independently builds their respective engine blocks that will eventually fit well into national building.

We need to have our OneMap Malaysia (or 1Malaysia Map) as foundation for our national building too.