The Challenges of the National ICT Policy Implementation Process: A Comparative Study of Malaysia and Thailand

The Challenges of the National ICT Policy Implementation Process: A Comparative Study of Malaysia and Thailand

Nicholas C. Maynard (RAND Corporation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-388-3.ch010
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Abstract

Thailand and Malaysia have both undergone a rapid transformation of their ICT sectors, including their telecommunications networks, national policies, institutions, and regulatory regimes. The author contents that the privatization of the monopoly telecommunications operator and the creation of a regulatory agency are the foundation for all other governmental ICT initiatives designed to accelerate telecommunications adoption. This is a difficult process to successfully implement, with many countries unable to sufficiently reduce the authority of the postal, telegraph & telephone (PTT) agency to develop a new entity that is politically independent. Despite these difficulties, this process is vital to the success of a national ICT market. The creation of a competitive market and a government regulator is the basis on which all other regulatory reforms, institutional reforms, and national ICT policies must rest. If a country cannot achieve a politically sustainable balance of power between the government, the former monopoly, and the competitive players, then that country cannot sustain its rapid ICT adoption. A number of national initiatives are currently under way to develop technology sectors and increase adoption rates in developing countries, but many of these initiatives do not have a clear understanding of their potential impact and benefit on the economy – and are therefore difficult to justify politically or economically (Docktor, 2004). The stated goal of this research was to provide a set of tools for local and international policy makers and technology providers to help assess the benefits of technology initiatives while tying them to the larger issue of economic development.
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Literature Review

This section focuses on the large body of literature devoted to explaining the rapidly industrializing economies of East Asia, which include Thailand and Malaysia. This development literature is used as a basis for understanding the role of the state within the economy at large and the ICT sector in particular. These past studies from the literature provide a foundation for understanding the critical role the government plays in ICT development even after a sector has been privatized.

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