Neglect and conflicting interests are hampering the expansion of Indonesia's information and communications technology (ICT) industry so that special legislation is needed to encourage its development, an expert said Tuesday.
"IT has yet to become a national strategic issue and it continues to be dwarfed by other issues perceived as being more important on the national agenda," Indonesian Information Technology Federation (FTII) chairman Teddy Sukardi said on the sidelines of a ceremony marking the opening of the 2007 IndoCommIT Expo and Forum at the Jakarta Convention Center.
"A case in point is the delay in passing the "cyber" bill, which has been on the table in the House of Representatives since the time of Megawati," he said, referring to former president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
According to Teddy, a "cyber" law, a special law on ICT, is essential for regulating the industry, and mapping out the directions in which it should develop.
He complained that despite the years spent on drafting the bill, its fate still hung in the balance.
"Other countries have already made revisions to their legislation, while we still don't even have a basic legal text to work with," Teddy said.
Another factor hampering Indonesia's ICT progress, he said, were the conflicts of interest that often arose among stakeholders.
Herman Wiriadipoera, a director of PT Napindo Media Ashatama, the promoter of IndoCommIT, agreed, saying that IT associations tended to prioritize the interests of individual companies.
"The government should actually step in to facilitate and bring the groups together. We need to form a united front to better advocate the interests of the industry," he said.
According to the Industry Ministry, 65 percent of the ICT industry is made up of consulting services and 30 percent of multimedia software houses. The hardware sector contributes only 5 percent to the industry.
Indonesia's ICT industry is worth $54.7 million and employs over 58,000 workers. (09)