Penang hosts RM1.5m Techfest virtually, postpones WCIT to 2022

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 20 ― The World Congress On Information Technology () 2020, which is supposed to be held in Penang this year, has been postponed to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

Chow said the event was initially scheduled for September at the Setia Spice Convention centre, was postponed to this month and has to be pushed back a couple more years following the imposition of the conditional movement control order by the federal government.

“We were planning to hold a mix of physical and virtual events this month but the conditional movement control order meant that a physical event was not possible anymore,” he said.

He said Malaysia won the bid to host WCIT, a prestigious international ICT event, back in 2014 but the annual event for this year had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

“Initially we wanted to postpone it to next year but Bangladesh was given the rights to host it in 2021,” he said.

He said Malaysia was then allowed to postpone its WCIT2020 to 2022 so this year, Penang held “TECHFEST2020 LIVE: Road to WCIT 2022” as a precursor to WCIT2022.

Chow said WCIT is similar to the Olympics of ICT events in the world and featured various programmes related to ICT and the digital age.

TECHFEST2020 LIVE was held in a virtual format, on the .my website and on Astro, from November 18 to 20.

Chow said 3,800 users logged into various platforms on the event to take part in the virtual programmes.

“They recorded 70,000 page views and there were 250 panelist’s on three live streams including Astro live broadcast,” he said.

He said the expenses for TECHFEST2020 LIVE comes to about RM1.5 million and that the state will contribute a total RM3 million in cash and kind for both TECHFEST2020 LIVE and WCIT2022.

Last night, TECHFEST2020 LIVE broadcasted the 2020 WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards where Malaysia won the Chairman’s Award for 2020.

It is the third time Malaysia had bagged the award, previously winning in 2014 and 2016.

The winner, PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd, won the top prize of the awards for its Global Covid-19 Index (GCI).

There were a total 18 Malaysian nominees in the awards and five Malaysian firms won awards in various categories.

Telekom Research & Development Sdn Bhd won the Global ICT Awards in Sustainable Growth for its “Smart Water Integrated Management System”.

The Malaysian Health Ministry was the runner-up for Covid-19 Tech Solutions for Countries & Regions category for its “Malaysia’s Pandemic Response Systems”.

Penang’s own Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) won the merit award for its “PGCare Penang Contact Tracer” programme under the Covid-19 Tech Solutions for Cities and Localities category.

The state’s Local Government Division, Penang State Secretary’s “Initiative to reduce contact via Cashless Transaction” also won the merit award under the same category.

It was the first-ever virtual Global ICT Excellence Awards held which included three new Covid-19 related categories.

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