Information and Communications Technology Development Products Towards Strengthening Rural Communities in Malaysia
This study aims to evaluate the extent of development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ability to empower rural communities and enhance their economic productivity. ICT is a core catalyst for the development of a country to achieve developed nation status. However, rural communities are still exposed to the challenges and constraints in order to promote ICT development in rural areas. To address this issue, the government has established various objectives to ensure that rural communities are not marginalized. In an effort to take advantage of ICT development in rural areas, governments and agencies have developed various ICT-based products in rural areas. Programs such as Center of Telecenter, Rural Internet Centre (PID), Medan Info Desa, e-Village/e-Community, K-TRAK, PKIT and others are among the products introduced to the rural community. The purpose of the introduction of this product is to focus on the government’s efforts in ensuring the development of balanced urban and rural areas from different angles. Through ICT products, a rural community not just only follows the development of the ICT revolution, but to create a knowledgeable society and helps to boost the quality of life of rural communities. Thus, this paper will discuss ICT products developed in the rural areas of Malaysia, the purpose and prospects of the product development and the challenges faced during its implementation. Hopefully, the discussion and recommendations given could trigger the opportunity and space in making ICT as a driving force to economic development in rural areas.
Key words: ICT products; Rural communities; The use of ICT; Economic catalyst
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