“We acknowledge that we face significant challenges,” Dr Aliah told delegates. “But we are seeing positive change as Malaysia continues to transform into an information-centred economy by focusing on innovation, value and high skills.”
Malaysia’s National Broadband Plan, which aims to see household broadband internet penetration rise from 26 per cent to 50 per cent by the end of this year (2010), will play a big part in connecting the country of 23 million people, Dr Aliah noted. If this target is met – Malaysia’s GDP, which has been sluggish during the global economic downturn, could grow by 1.2 per cent, she said.
The Government Transformation Roadmap Plan, introduced this year to improve government services, will help keep the 2020 vision on track, Dr Aliah said. “This is a bold and unprecedented plan for every ministry to ensure that every citizen enjoys the fruits of a growing nation,” she said.
Part of the plan is “Connected government”, an initiative launched in 2007 to boost information sharing, integration and interoperability among government agencies, and strengthen and unify ICT infrastructure. “We want to move towards zero face-to-face interaction for citizens for selected agencies as more services move online,” said Dr Aliah.
Another strategy has been to focus on a few “high-impact projects” that will deliver immediate results. One of the most successful to date is MySMS, which gives Malaysians one number – 15888 - to text government with complaints or queries and receive news about new services. The service already has 1.4 million users.
Similar in aim to MySMS is MyID, which enables Malaysians to use a single reference number when dealing with government agencies. Launched in January 2010, 760 services have been launched which use the MyID service to date.
Dr Aliah explained that the progress of these projects, and the public sector as a whole, will be closely monitored by giving the highest performing agencies a “Public Sector Trust Mark” which citizens or businesses can use to gauge transparency.
“If these initiatives are wholeheartedly embraced, the hope of the Malaysian government is that we will move towards a more systemic excellence culture,” she said.
“Malaysia’s public sector will continue to transform to deliver higher performance to meet the 2020 goal. But we still need to change the way the civil service operates. E-government in Malaysia is well advanced, and it should be an integral component of a much broader mission to deliver the transformation agenda.”
Malaysia was ranked 32nd in the United Nations E-Government Survey 2010 last month, moving up two places on its 2008 rank. Malaysia is the fifth highest placed Asian country in the rankings, behind Japan, Bahrain, Singapore and South Korea.
FutureGov Forum Malaysia is an annual event organised by FutureGov magazine in close cooperation with the Malaysian government authorities.
By Robin Hicks | 23 February 2010