Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

World Bank’s Open Data Readiness Assessment for Malaysia: Potential for significant socio-economic gains if remaining obstacles are addressed

World Bank’s Open Data Readiness Assessment for Malaysia: Potential for significant socio-economic gains if remaining obstacles are addressed

Image from cover page of World Bank's ODRA report for Malaysia

The World Bank's Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) report for Malaysia was released on May 25. The report assesses Malaysia’s capacity to implement an Open Data program and provides recommendations to improve the transparent management and use of government data.

On the basis of this evaluation, Malaysia is ready to formulate an action plan to enable broad public access to government data and strengthen data use in development planning.
Malaysia is the first country in ASEAN to implement the ODRA methodology. The study, conducted between 31st October to 8th November 2016, was undertaken jointly with the Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). It included interviews with 192 participants across government agencies and other stakeholders, to understand precisely how decisions are taken, how demand for data is met, and how publication of data could be more sustained.

Open data is a key area of focus for Malaysia’s Public Sector ICT Strategic Plan (PSISP). The government has set a target of being in the top 30 in the Open Data Barometer (ODB) by 2020.  As of 2016, Malaysia had an ODB rank of 53.

One of the most important recommendations from the ODRA report is having a clearly defined national policy/legal framework and government data management policies/procedures for opening and sharing data. At the moment, there is no single legal framework in Malaysia that determines whether data can be opened or not, leading to uncertainty and caution. Agencies do proactively publish information and do entertain requests for information and data from the public and third parties. However, these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

The report also says that central agencies will need to shift away from a focus on operational work, and towards providing data owners with the motivation and the guidance required to open their data as a matter of routine, rather than exception.

ODRA utilises a rapid diagnostic of eight dimensions considered essential for the success of an Open Data program: (1) senior leadership, (2) policy/legal framework, (3) institutional structures, responsibilities and capabilities within government, (4) government data management policies and procedures, (5) demand for Open Data, (6) civic engagement and capabilities for Open Data, (7) funding an Open Data program, and (8) national technology and skills infrastructure.

The country is rated along each of these dimensions as Red (Evidence/responses to questions suggest significant obstacles currently exist), Yellow (Evidence/responses to questions do not show significant obstacles, but the evidence of favorable conditions is mixed.) or Green (Evidence/responses to questions show favorable conditions already exist for the successful and sustainable implementation of an Open Data Program meeting the objectives set.)

The assessment – Six either already "green" or "tending to green" and two "yellows"

There is clear evidence of readiness in most of the eight dimensions of the ODRA, with six either already “green” or “tending to green.”  But readiness is less clear on two dimensions, policy/legal framework and government data management policies/procedures.

On senior leadership, the assessment for Malaysia is yellow, tending towards green. MAMPU and MDEC are leading open data and big data efforts for the public and private sectors respectively. Visible public Ministerial support exists for open data, and the overall national priorities are well-aligned with open data aspirations. An open data program coordinated by MAMPU has already been launched. Around 50 agencies have already contributed in some way to this open data program.

But there is still need to address resistance and inertia among some data owners. They need to be incentivised to make the necessary changes for data to be released in a timely and effective manner. Specific awareness on how open data can create value for various stakeholders has not yet fully emerged, which has slowed the emergence of visible champions amongst data-owning agencies beyond MAMPU.

The assessment for policy & legal framework is yellow. The Official Secrets Act (OSA) only lists a few items explicitly, but it mostly devolves decision-making power regarding confidentiality to agencies. Data exchanges, whether inter-agency or with non-government stakeholders, are decided on a case-by-case basis, with senior managerial approval. Data owners are not always confident about the application of general rules and regulations related to privacy and confidentiality, and individual agencies may also face specific internal data management regulations. Frequently, there are regulations that require the collection of fees in exchange for data sharing, which lead to significant administration and compliance costs.

According to the report, clarifying and/or strengthening the legal framework for key data areas, providing guidance on appropriate data release, and especially reducing the need for case-by-case decision-making on data sharing, will increase government efficiency and create better visibility for interested data users. As an immediate action, MAMPU’s Circular, which stipulates various steps for public agencies to decide on which data to open and how, can be implemented more systematically across government in order to see a clear improvement in this dimension.

In a second phase, the current Circular could be revised to provide directives in line with international good practices: (a) all agencies should inventory their data holdings within 12 months, and (b) data should be open by default, non-open data should be the exceptions, and the exceptions should be clearly listed in the instrument.

On Institutional Structure, Responsibilities and Capabilities within Government, the assessment is green, thanks to a clear lead agency in the form of MAMPU and several inter-agency mechanisms to coordinate ICT efforts.

There is a yellow assessment for Government Data Management Policies, Procedures and Data Availability. There is limited interconnectedness and integration of government data. Agencies and are rich in digital data and are aware of what data they hold, although comprehensive inventories within agencies and/or across agencies are not available. There is strong demand for more internal data sharing, which is usually dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Demand for open data, and civil engagement and capabilities for open data are both yellow, tending green. CSOs, academia, and the business community articulate clear demand, though not all groups are well developed or organised. There is demand for more high priority datasets, as well as more granular levels of data. However, making data available does not guarantee it will be used. An interactive and collaborative engagement between government data owners and other private sector, civil society and academic data users could help in this regard.

Communities of app developers and teams participating in hackathons organised by the government indicate civic capabilities for open data. Notable ICT sector and apps exists, however, there is not much data journalism.

The report rates Malaysia as green on both funding open data programs and national technology and skill infrastructure. The Government of Malaysia is already making significant investments in running an open data program, with allocated resources. There is also government funding for big data efforts and e-government programs. On the demand side, innovation funding is available.

Connectivity is good, mostly through mobile broadband, and Malaysians are active Internet and social media users. The ICT sector is well developed and growing. A wide variety of technical communities exists, who would appreciate more interaction with government around topics such as open data.

Read the complete report here.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.