The Star Online 18 August 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may not be ready to release its official data to the public just yet.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said there were many problems in the civil service that needed to be fixed first.

“Within the Government itself we have problems with open data,” he said, adding that civil service departments have been operating in silos.

“Searching for data and getting it is very difficult,” Low said at a seminar and exhibition on Open Data for Good Governance, Civic Engagement and Economic Growth, organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs.

Citing an example, he said he was tasked with revamping Malaysia’s foreign workers’ system, and that his officers had to get information from 14 different agencies.

He admitted that it was easier for him to get the information simply because he was a minister.

“In the past, if there was no minister like myself who was able to integrate all these 14 agencies, no civil servant was going to find all this info,” he said.

He added that some official data were not even available in government systems but was being stored in private ones.

Low said the Government was working with different agencies and other groups in trying to make some government data public.

As to when the Government might come up with this open data policy, Low said the Government needed to look at what info it could release to the public.

In October 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said some government records would be declassified. Some of this data can be viewed on ministry websites or the official Open Data portal data.gov.my.

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