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Malaysia Mulls Compulsory Registration of Tech Workers 187

Posted by timothy
from the governments-generally-suck dept.
Viceice writes "Hot on the heels of recently passed legislation further restricting Freedom of Assembly, the National Front-led Malaysian Government is now working to make the registration of all tech workers mandatory, making it an offence punishable by a stiff fine and jail for anyone to plan, deploy, service and maintain any computing system without a license. A leaked draft of the legislation has ignited a backlash among the IT community, which fear the law, when passed, will be devastating to the tech industry in Malaysia."
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Malaysia Mulls Compulsory Registration of Tech Workers

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  • Papers (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I see you have your papers, but do you have your papers for your papers?

    Ahh you do not. You shall be escorted away to be dealt with accordingly.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:27PM (#38321340) Homepage Journal
    Malaysia had had passed on to an islamist party government. and they have been trying to increasingly implement sharia-compliant measures. internet irritates them to no end with its freedom and possibility of pursuing anything 'non islamic'.

    this is simply another measure - if you make all i.t. workers registered, noone can set up stuff that may prevent/circumvent censorship or anything and still remain in business. this includes proxies, servers, networks - anything. basically its just a control scheme.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:37PM (#38321454)

      Not just censorship. Mandatory legal licensing is a proven method of protectionism that restricts labor movement between states, grants special privilege to a select few, and offers more justification for bureaucracy. It is just one more tool of the labor monopolists.

      It is fortunate that IT is too new a field to have yet become infused with these sorts of restraints. It provides a nice means to compare the vast assortment of innovation and falling prices to other more locked down labor sectors, like medicine and law.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Mandatory legal licensing is a proven method of protectionism that restricts labor movement between states

        So THAT is how we end out-sourcing to the 3rd world. Thx.

      • For the licensed.

        They will enter the same sphere as lawyers, doctors, accountants who have to be similarly licensed.

        It is fortunate that IT is too new a field to have yet become infused with these sorts of restraints.

        That rather depends if you are a buyer or seller.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism#Malaysian_institutional_racism [wikipedia.org]

      its the reason Singapore exists (a Chinese dominated enclave that was not exactly going to submit to the concept)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      You know, every time I tell people this on /. I'm the on that gets called a bigot and a racist. Glad to see that people are finally waking up to the reality of what Malaysia is like. Maybe they'll wake up that Egypt is now full steaming ahead to the same fate.

      • by Viceice (462967)

        To be fair, the Malaysian government is like that (Bigoted and racist). The general population are generally nice people.

        The government is working overtime shoring up power and restricting freedoms because they lost their 2/3 majority in parliament for the first time in 50 years last election and they are close to being tossed out next election (which is soon).

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          To be fair, and having been to Malaysia in the last 8mo. You're better off skipping most of the country. While there are some parts and people that are nice, the fanatical islamists are on the march as much as the brown shirts were on the march in 1932.

        • Malaysian government ministers have recently been required to enroll in special yoga classes where they learn to bend their heads forward an incredible 270 degrees.

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          You bring up a good point that can be applied nearly globally. When American people complain about other countries, or other countries' people complain about America (or other countries), most often it is meant at the policies of the government (and in same cases companies that have a strong influence on the government) rather than the people. For example, the war in the middle east- what percentage of the US population has been wanting to pull our troops out for the past 3, 5, 7, 10 years? Yet somehow w

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Islam is not a "race", it's SUPERSTITION, as ridiculous as all the others.

        The idea that anything not supported by science and logic is to be respected is absurd.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sxpert (139117)

          Wake up!

          ALL religions are crap. Take for example the so-called Born Again Christians you have in the US.

          Religions should be considered for what they are, CULTS and should be forbidden to take any part of the political life

          • by ultranova (717540)

            Religions should be considered for what they are, CULTS and should be forbidden to take any part of the political life

            And how would you go about it? Make a religious test for holding a public office, or for being eligible to vote? And would you still hold that the people so disenfranchised would be required to pay taxes (without representation), serve in the military, or obey the laws they have no say in?

            It's all fine and good to call for banning religion, but unless you're actually going to back that up w

            • by Khyber (864651)

              I'd go about it by saying "You believe in something that hasn't been proven in over 10,000 years? Your beliefs say we're only 6,000 years old despite written history before that? You just lost your right to vote in this country. Feel free to vote when you're in touch with reality."

      • by ultranova (717540)

        You know, every time I tell people this on /. I'm the on that gets called a bigot and a racist.

        Well, quite a few people have trouble differentiating between race and culture, thus taking any criticism of the latter to be an instance of racism. That has some unfortunate results, such as the kind of multiculturalism where the advocates pretend there are no actual differences between cultures beyond music, food and clothes. This, in turn, has led to a counter-reaction where actual racism is seen as increasing

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Of course people have a problem telling the difference. I'm pretty sure it's intentional. The irony is, the loudest screamers are the atheists who are supporters of islam, and believe which can do no harm. And has never done harm, and believe it has mystical powers all of it's own.

    • by billstewart (78916) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:13PM (#38322148) Journal

      It was back in the 90s, if I remember correctly, and unlike some licensing laws that were passed to protect special interest groups, this was just because a legislator had met a licensed civil engineer at a party who was complaining about how he needed a license to build bridges and buildings, but people could design safety-critical software without knowing what they were doing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so the legislator cribbed the state's civil engineering licensing laws, turned them into software engineering licensing laws, and by the time she was done you couldn't operate a microwave oven without a four-year degree from an accredited software engineering program, much less tell a web site designer what you wanted your web site to look like. And because she was in the majority political party in the state assembly, it not only passed her committee without any intelligent thought being applied to it, but also passed the state House. (And after all, most of the legislators were lawyers who also needed licenses to practice, so it didn't occur to them that this actually mattered.) Fortunately, a reporter from the Bergen Record saw the bill, thought about what it might mean, and asked the PR person from a major high-tech firm in the state what their opinion was. They looked at it, said "[expletive deleted]!!", told their friends, and all of them told their state senate contacts to kill the bill or it would cripple all the high-tech business in the state, and it died quietly.

      • by jcr (53032)

        I remember hearing about that bill, but I didn't know it had actually made it through one body of their legislature. I was working in Paramus around then, and I remember my client saying that if it passed, they'd move all of their operations to Pennsylvania or Connecticut within a month.

        -jcr

      • by russotto (537200)

        I remember the proposed NJ programmer licensing law as well. But what I didn't realize is that Texas actually passed one in the 1990s. And the IEEE supports such laws -- the ACM opposes licensing and withdrew from a joint organization (with the IEEE) over the issue.

        Texas's software engineering license is such a comical extreme that only a hardcore licensing advocate could possibly want to use it as a guide. The requirements include
        1) An accepted 4 year degree. This includes a computer science degree.
        2)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Organized religion of any kind is complete bullshit. There is/are no god(s); will you fucktarded overgrown childres fucking grow up already and get over it? All these people do in the end is make everyone else completely miserable with their superstitious nonsense.
      • by mrmeval (662166)

        A few points.
        Most organized religions in the US are 501C3 tax exempt

        The gov't has made it possible for people to donate to the church and not have that amount considered as income and for some church activities to not be taxed.

        The church to receives this benefit had to agree to become a corporation and agree to certain rules.
        501C3 tax exemption gags the church from any political speech or act among other restraints.

        Recently the IRS has been granted the power by the supCt to choose what is and is not a tax e

        • by El Torico (732160)

          “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” - Denis Diderot

          • by TheLink (130905)
            The trouble is the ones doing the most strangling[1] are usually the next king or priest ;).

            It is better to have leaders selected by "most votes", than "most firepower".

            [1] With or without entrails.
            • by mrmeval (662166)

              A monarchy can shrivel up and become irrelevant as has happened in England but in many cases removing it requires killing it.

          • by mrmeval (662166)

            Compression of ideas to be beautifully sparse is an art. :)

      • It's brainwashing.

        The purpose is control. Think of religion as psyops.
         

      • by gillbates (106458)

        And who is wrong? You - or all of humanity, throughout all of human history? The belief in God and tendency to organize this belief in a formal way is something which has been with humanity for all of recorded history, and even among peoples isolated from each other.

        You don't really expect us to believe that some armchair philosopher somewhere on the internet has solved a problem which has confounded philosophers for centuries, do you? And if you possessed such wit to see what others have not, why is

    • It's also a good way for them to enforce their Affirmative Action policy [wikipedia.org] against the disliked Malaysian Chinese and the disliked Malaysian Indian minorities in favor of the "disadvantaged" Malay majority.

      After all, it's very difficult to implement a quota system without some kind of registration and licensing requirement first. For instance, this licensing distinction between University graduates and non-graduates will only ensure that the two minorities that are being "positively" discriminated from attend

    • by jcr (53032)

      It really is tragic how Malaysia is degenerating into a Saudi colony. There was a time after they got free of the British when it looked like Malaysia might turn out to be a fine place to live.

      -jcr

  • By itself, licensing isn't a big issue. Many trades require licensing. However, if it's meant as a knee-jerk reaction to people who might pose a threat to a totalitarian government, perhaps it is not such a wonderful idea....
    • Re:Licensing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:49PM (#38321570)

      Many trades require licensing IF the person involved is going to offer their services to the general public.

      Licensing provisions do not apply anywhere as often if the person is going to practice the trade as an employee.

    • By itself, licensing isn't a big issue. Many trades require licensing. However, if it's meant as a knee-jerk reaction to people who might pose a threat to a totalitarian government, perhaps it is not such a wonderful idea....

      so maybe some licensing is not that bad of a idea and poor security can let hacks get in and take info that should not be out in the wild.

    • Re:Licensing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:30PM (#38321870)
      The fact that "Many trades require licensing" is very, very far from making it "not a big issue".

      I mean, even aside from the fact that in this case it appears it is being done for political reasons. State licensing has gone a long way toward ruining some professions, at least from the point of view of the public at large. Look at lawyers, just for one example.

      Here's what happens as soon as a profession gets "licensed" or "certified". (I saw this happen gradually in the field of networking, after they started offering network certifications, like Novell CNE, and MCSE:

      Some self-proclaimed licensing or certification body (if it's not the state) comes up with a certification exam. (Or, in more egregious cases, several to many exams that must be passed.) Not long after, tech and publishing companies begin to publish "Study courses" on how to pass the exam. When I was studying for my MCSE, I had several complete sets of books, some of which retailed for as much as $400 per set.

      Soon -- very soon -- lots of big companies have a huge investment in this certification. And they lose lots of money every time the exams change. Also, the certification bodies rarely keep up with new technology. And worse... certification becomes the only indicator of who is "a professional" in that field. And so everybody who has already passed it has a stake in making sure that certification is difficult to get. Further, those who have passed certification feel they have earned their wings, and consider themselves tenured professionals. They don't feel they need to constantly study and keep up with everything new anymore.

      As a result of all this, innovation in the field begins to slow. People who have licenses usually get paid well. But as time passes -- at least in tech fields -- they become less and less relevant. Sooner or later, they find that industry has passed them by and they have become dinosaurs. So they get a job flipping burgers or something to pay to go back to school (which no longer works, by the way: school is far too expensive).

      So, no. I am sure there are exceptions, but in general, at least in tech fields, licensing or certification tolls the slow but sure death knell of your profession. To be replaced by something similar but not quite the same, 10 or 20 years later.

      (Anybody remember CNE or MCSE? I never finished my MCSE, by the way: I saw the writing on the wall and went for a software career instead.)
      • by roman_mir (125474)

        This is not only about professional licensing, this is about any licensing. It's used to increase the costs, destroy competition, prevent new business from competing with existing ones that are paying the politicians.

        Any business licensing at all should never be done by governments, all business licensing is a private matter.

        But the same applies to product licensing, an example is FDA - no food and drugs need government licensing. People should be able to buy any food and drugs without licensing of the comp

    • by quenda (644621)

      Licensing is not enough. If IT techs are going to make anywhere near as much money as plumbers and electricians, we need laws prohibiting anyone from repairing or installing their own computer.

          In this stupid nanny-state of Australia, I cannot even (legally) replace a faulty GPO (power outlet) or leaking tap in my own home without paying $100 callout plus $90/hr (bloody mining boom), so why should that tradie be allowed to run Windows Update without paying an IT nerd to do it?

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        Already happened here in California. I do wonder if the licensing requirement (the license is moderately expensive, and applies to the business, not the individual tech) might have contributed to the demise of the small computer repair shop industry, by being just one more barrier to entry while not actually ensuring that the tech knows anything.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:30PM (#38321374) Homepage

    This could also affect everyone that develops open source on any project.

  • Degree debt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:30PM (#38321378) Homepage

    This will happen in the US. Count on it. It will serve two purposes.

    1. National Security or some such crap.

    2. Students have too much debt because of the degree bubble. Thus, they should be fast-tracked into employment to pay it off. Your 20+ years of experience with no degree? Back of the line with you and a mound of debt in tuition to boot.

    • It should be noted that I do not agree with the two statements above. Just making a point how the feds will justify this kind of behavior.

      • "Degree bubble"? That's hardly how I would describe it. The fact that government has driven up the cost of an education is rather the opposite of a "bubble".
    • licensed people like plumbers have them and they are a mix of class room (non therey loaded) and real work that is lacking in many CS degrees.

    • A little less of a degree bubble, a little more of a rising tuition costs bubble. The accountants at the universities noticed that students can get (seemingly) infinitely-sized loans to attend school.

      Were it not for their ability to get such large loans, the same population of students might still be able to attend institutions at a somewhat lower rate. Put another way, if everyone can afford $120,000 in student loans for college tuition, where do you think the costs for tuition are going to average? If eve

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:52PM (#38321600) Homepage

    Thanks Malaysia. You've just made for better job security in India and the US. We Americans won't have to compete directly against you because only a minority of your people will be able to afford to comply with this (thus making them a highly paid minority) and Indians will have fewer competitors, making it easier for their wages to increase (which again, makes it easier for Americans to compete).

    If I didn't know better, I'd wonder how much a US Trade Representative paid someone to make this happen!

  • by Teun (17872) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:00PM (#38321666) Homepage
    Having worked in this wonderful country I dare say this is a typical Malaysian problem.

    The country has a diverse population with a Muslim majority and economical strong Indian and especially Chinese minorities. The last two make this a quite well off country.
    Historically this mix has been tightly controlled by an undemocratic government, this government knows the economy would seriously suffer when they would let slip the present (enforced) balance of power between these groups.

    It's no surprise the present government tries to continue this control and protect the relative strong economy by among others regulating new means of communication like computers and especially the internet.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:06PM (#38321726)

    I mean, really. What do these people think it will do, besides *restrict* technological innovation? That is defact the point with this kind of legislation.

    In the case of licensing doctors, it is to *restrict* people with dodgy credentials performing surgeries, or proscribing medications. Ideally, this is to protect patients, as it helps regulate a standard QoS in that industry. Same with legal professionals. Likewise, that restriction reduces the number of people performing those services. This has two immediate effects: 1) it reduces supply for that service, increasing costs. 2)it reduces the number of people doing that work, naturally reducing the number of minds that would bring innovative ideas to those service industries.

    The whole reason why the internet exploded with applications (both computational, and user service oriented) and service providers was *because* of that lack of regulation. The emergence of top players comes about as genuine success stories in an unregulated/minimally regulated system. If providers were abusive, people stopped using them, and other providers gobbled them up. The reason for this explosion of innovation was because literally *anyone* with an internet connection and some intelligence could contribute to, or create a new idea, and promote it. This is how free software thrives. Anyone with an internet connection can download a code repository, read it, and suggest improvements. It doesn't matter if you are a millionaire payboy, or an ammonia scented cleaning woman, if your suggested changes are sound, you have improved the collective work, and everyone benefits from your innovative idea.

    Instigating this kind of licensing would block out the vast majority of users from legally engaging in this process. As such, their ideas, even if perfectly valid, and even game changing, are withheld from inclusion, because "they aren't licensed."

    This applies to every level of internet culture and its distributed source of innovation. It is poison to the very infrastructure they want to control.

    The addage "don't ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to ignorance." Is stretched very thin here. How can you create such legislation, knowing what the internet is, and NOT see how it is antithetically counter opposed to the very foundational source of that system's recourcefulness and robustness in terms of innovation?

    Stifle innovation? Really? Ya think?

    • Actually i think they dont give a fuck about that innovation you speak off, they have a ticking clock to serious social problem, and the internet can speed it up. Sooo lets keep the techies under control.
    • See my own comment above. We agree, but for different reasons. Our arguments somewhat reinforce each other.
    • I mean, really. What do these people think it will do, besides *restrict* technological innovation?

      And that is exactly the point of the law. Islam seeks to live in the past where individual freedoms are dangerous to the group think.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      Technically, California already has this sort of licensing, at least for computer techs (and a broad interpretation could include just about any sort of computer-related job).

      http://www.bearhfti.ca.gov/ [ca.gov]
      It is illegal in CA for an unlicensed person to perform repairs on a computer.

      And the state runs sting operations:
      http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/press_releases/2007/0928_sting.shtml [ca.gov]

  • Draft Bill (Score:5, Informative)

    by Viceice (462967) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:49PM (#38322008)

    The leaked draft bill is here:

    http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/75107593?access_key=key-22cz53lb62552asmdd43 [scribd.com]

    The pertinent part is paragraph 18.

    • by udippel (562132)

      Make that paragraph 19, I'd suggest:
      "no person shall, unless he is a Registered Computing Professional
      (a) practice, carry on business or take up employment which requires him to carry out or perform the services of a Registered Computing Professional"
      is sufficient to get the gist.

    • Re:Draft Bill (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @11:04PM (#38322426)

      Pertinent part is section 2:

      "This Act applies to the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII)."
      "“Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII)” refers to those assets, systems and functions that are vital to the nation that their incapacity or destruction would have a devastating impact on National economic strength or National image or National defense and security or Government capability to function or Public health and safety;"

      It makes perfect sense to require companies and entities dealing with CNII to be evaluated and certified as competent.

      A lot of things are wrong in Malaysia's political landscape, but this bill is a bad example of it. The government (the same political party in power since independence 54 year ago) is rotten by corruption and cronyism, it supports within the population has been going downhill in recent years as more and more corruption scandals have been exposed (thanks in great part to the internet - the local press is self-censored and owned by the political parties in power, most other publications are banned). With the next general election expected within months, the people are quick to bash the government for any proposed law or act that attacks their freedom. Most of the time, they are right to complain, the Peaceful Assembly Act the TFA briefly mention is a very good example of how the Malaysian government wants to control and restrict the freedom of speech and movement of their citizen, but that IT bill, well, it is not.

      Living in Malaysia for 5 years now, it's a very nice and friendly country. Not what some people here may say. It's a muslim majority country, but very moderate and multi-ethnic. There are racial-based laws in effects which grants financial advantages, preference in employment and education, to the Malay (and Muslim) majority, corruption exists at every level of power and cronyism is a real plague. These are the real problem. Yet, Malaysia has a lot of potential and its people, the younger generation especially, is looking forward to make it a better place. I'm pretty confident they will.

  • The tech industry is Malaysia.

  • ...the Malaysian government can fix their own damned computers. See how they like it.

  • I've read the leaked draft of the bill linked by @Viceice. Lacking background on the bill's authors, I'll hazard a guess that this is the work of incumbent local IT firms looking to lock out new entrants, and thus reduce competition and pressure to reduce billing rates. As such, it would be no different than taxi cab or barber licensing stateside, whose purpose is usually similar... while using the fig leaf of ensuring qualified vendors.

  • Some people have pointed out that this only applies to government or CNII http://cnii.cybersecurity.my/main/about.html [cybersecurity.my]. This is all the public have info on, and it encompasses almost every economic sector in Malaysia. Would ISP, Telekoms and Mobile operators come under critical services? How about Banking? Would this be another layer of requirements on top of existing ones to provide IT services to banks and financial institutions?

    National Security is also a red flag. Malaysia has history of using National

  • .MY is a spam cesspool, and has been for 10+ years now. Maybe if they destroy their IT industry, it'll fix the spammers too.

  • Of course it's hugely detrimental to the Malaysian tech industry as a whole and people working in it, but it's no skin off our nose or anyone else's, except Malaysians.

    As other posts noted, the background is probably fundamentalist Islamists trying to get a grip on the Internet in Malaysia (which irritates them a lot).

    Of course it won't impact the Internet (to any significant degree). On the contrary: I think it will serve to illustrate (once again) the effective limits of legislative powers versus a lo

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