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Siti Sapura binti Raffee on Accelerating Malaysia’s Digital Economy – Part II

8th Annual Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum 2023: Insights from the Opening Address

This is a three part series. Read Part I and Part III here.

OpenGov Asia held its 8th Leadership Forum in Malaysia at the DoubleTree by Hilton Putrajaya Lakeside on 23 June 2023. Siti Sapura binti Raffee, the Principal ICT Consultant (Strategist) at the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation And Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) delivered the opening address.

Part I of OpenGov Asia’s coverage of her speech noted the focus on the role of a digital government in shaping a robust digital economy ecosystem in Malaysia, highlighting the need for comprehensive strategies and stakeholder involvement.

Where is Malaysia Now?

According to Puan Siti, the concept of digital government, which encompasses the entire Malaysia public services ecosystem, has been a consistent focus. Digital government initiatives within the Malaysian public sector are guided by policies and roadmaps that steer decisions towards achieving positive outcomes.

The dedicated pursuit of digitalisation began in 1996 during the Multimedia Super Corridor era. Aimed at becoming a digital nation by 2025, policies, roadmaps, and blueprints are formulated to provide clear directions, outline strategic initiatives, and set targets. These efforts are aimed at establishing the necessary foundations to enhance the digital economy and bridge the digital divide in Malaysia, Puan said.

Over the years, the Malaysian government has implemented national policies and blueprints to advance digital government initiatives. These include the Electronic Flagship in 1997, the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MYDIGITAL) that will be implemented until 2030, and the Public Sector Digitalisation Strategic Plan (PSDSP) for 2021-2025. The Twelfth Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) demonstrates a strong commitment to further intensify the digitalisation of government services, prioritise citizen-centric decision-making, and emphasise public sector integrity and transparency. A whole-of-government approach is also emphasised as a critical institutional enabler to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.

Malaysia’s digital government landscape has been significantly transformed by the evolution of digital government, Puan Siti noted. Technological advancements and the digitalisation of services have emerged as key drivers propelling public service modernisation, economic transformation, and wealth creation. These developments shape new value delivery models and contribute to the achievement of the nation’s development agenda.

As the leading agency, MAMPU has been entrusted with the task of building the digital government landscape in Malaysia. A digital government landscape encompasses the government’s capability and capacity to develop and provide digital services, as well as the willingness and ability of the public sector to adopt and use those services. Therefore, MAMPU has the responsibility to spearhead various digital initiatives aimed at fulfilling the requirements of the digital government landscape.

Within the PSDSP 2021-2025, Strategic Thrust 3, “Diverse and Agile Governance,” prioritises the strengthening of digital governance, the empowerment of strategic leadership within the public sector, and the empowerment of digital organisation management, with MAMPU as the sole agency responsible for spearheading public sector digitalisation efforts.

These initiatives align with the objectives outlined in the MYDIGITAL Blueprint, further emphasising the importance of effective digital governance and strategic leadership in driving digital transformation within the public sector.

In terms of online services, as outlined in the MYDIGITAL Blueprint for the Government Cluster, Malaysia has achieved 77.06% of government services that are available online as of October 2022. Out of these online services, 13% are categorised as government to business (G2B) services, 19% are government to government (G2G) services, and 43% are government to citizen (G2C) services.

There has also been a steady increment of smartphone users as well as subscription and penetration rate per 100 inhabitants every year.

Malaysia aims to attain universal internet access for all households by 2025, Puan Siti said. This goal is crucial as it enables households to enhance their socioeconomic standing by leveraging digital platforms for online businesses and additional income streams. Moreover, ensuring widespread internet access facilitates the accelerated formation of a digital society, where citizens can easily access government digital services at any time and from anywhere.

The accessibility of the internet and the ongoing digital transformation of public service delivery within the current system and procedures have enabled the government to digitally provide services to the general population, in alignment with the principle of “Leaving No One Behind” by 2030.

Government agencies are collaborating closely, each with designated roles and functions, to ensure the development, adoption, and adaptation of advanced technologies. These technologies have the potential to not only enhance the digital economy but also improve the well-being of a broader range of citizens.

The PSDSP 2021-2025 encompasses seven strategic thrusts, nineteen strategies, forty-nine programs, and one hundred and forty-two high-level action plans. These components serve as a comprehensive guide for public sector ministries and agencies, assisting them in planning, aligning, and implementing digitalisation initiatives within their respective organisations. The PSDSP provides a structured framework to ensure effective and coordinated efforts towards digital transformation across the public sector.

As of February 2023, MAMPU has successfully completed 34 initiatives, while 57 other initiatives are still in progress, Puan Siti noted. The government is currently in the process of conducting the half-term review for PSDSP to assess the achievements of the plan and align them with any new government agendas. This review ensures that the PSDSP remains responsive to emerging priorities and is continuously optimised to drive effective digitalisation in the public sector.

Among the successfully implemented initiatives in the PSDSP 2021-2025 are:

  1. MyGovNet: An integrated government network.
  2. MyGovUC 2.0: A collaborative communication platform.
  3. MyGovCloud@PDSA and MyGovCloud@CFA: Cloud computing services.
  4. Malaysia Government Central Data Exchange (MyGDX): A data sharing platform that facilitates end-to-end online services by providing data integration services across agencies.
  5. Establishment of Public Sector Data Sharing Policy and Public Sector Cloud Computing Service Policy.

These initiatives demonstrate the government’s commitment to enhancing connectivity, communication, data sharing, and cloud computing capabilities within the public sector, ultimately facilitating more efficient and seamless delivery of online services.

The shared services provided by MAMPU for public sector agencies are ongoing initiatives aimed at supporting the fulfilment of digital government in the Malaysian public sector.

One of the key initiatives in achieving this goal is the advancement of the Malaysian public sector’s cloud services. This initiative aligns with Malaysia’s Digital Economy Action Plan, which sets a target of 80 percent cloud computing storage usage across the public sector by the end of 2022.

By leveraging cloud computing technology, public sector agencies can enhance their efficiency, scalability, and data storage capabilities, ultimately improving service delivery and facilitating the digital transformation of government operations.

The government introduced the Government Hybrid Cloud by merging MyGovCloud@PDSA with a commercial cloud service provider (CSP). Public cloud services are provided through a Cloud Framework Agreement (CFA) involving four CSPs and four Managed Service Providers (MSPs). This initiative enables the government to leverage both private and public cloud services for efficient and secure digital service delivery.

By 31 March 2023, public computing storage utilisation reached 84.55% for both MyGovCloud@PDSA and MyGovCloud@CFA, surpassing the target set by MyDigital, which aimed for 80% cloud storage usage across the government by 2022. This achievement demonstrates the successful adoption and utilisation of cloud storage in the government sector, supporting digital transformation efforts and enhancing data management capabilities.

As of March 2023, the data sharing platform, MyGDX, has successfully implemented 130 APIs and is being utilised by 32 government agencies. This platform enables efficient coordination and sharing of information among the agencies, improving data accessibility and collaboration. By leveraging MyGDX, the government can enhance data-driven decision-making and streamline processes across multiple sectors.

The public sector has implemented initiatives such as Open Data and Public Sector Big Data (DRSA). These initiatives focus on utilising data to drive innovation and improve governance in Malaysia. Open Data makes government data accessible to the public, while DRSA involves analysing large-scale data for insights and better decision-making. These initiatives contribute to the government’s digital transformation and data-driven governance.

Puan Siti noted that the government is dedicated to enhancing the delivery of government services by increasing the availability of online services for the convenience of citizens. The MyGovernment portal, managed by MAMPU, serves as a centralised gateway for integrated and secure information and online services. As of February 2023, the portal has received a total of 20.5 million visitors.

The success of the portal is attributed to the collaboration of 219 government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. By the end of 2022, a total of 889 digital online services provided by the public sector have been integrated through the MyGovernment portal.

The GAMMA (Gallery of Malaysian Government Mobile Apps) initiative serves as a national-level repository for mobile applications developed and published by various Malaysian government agencies. All mobile apps hosted on GAMMA undergo authentication by the government and adhere to established compliance principles and frameworks to ensure the protection of individuals’ personal information.

The government is focused on implementing digitalisation initiatives to promote a cashless society. This involves enhancing the government’s cashless online transactions and expanding electronic payment options through various mediums. By the end of 2021, 78.79% of federal ministries, departments, and statutory bodies were already offering cashless payment options.

In addition to the technological aspects and processes, the empowerment of digital government heavily relies on people. Cultivating a culture of digitalisation and nurturing talent are fundamental for successful digitalisation efforts.

Both MyDigital and PSDSP 2021-2025 emphasise the need for strong leadership. MyDigital outlines the government’s plan to appoint Chief Information Officers in each ministry to assume the role of Chief Digital Officer, fostering a digitally driven culture.

Other initiatives include establishing digital accelerators within ministries to cultivate in-house experts, developing certified trainers, and nurturing highly skilled civil servants with technical expertise and ICT-related talent. These individuals will serve as agents of change to accelerate digital adoption. Additionally, innovative accelerators will drive the adoption of emerging technologies, and digital solution architects will be employed as service designers.

This is a three part series. Read Part I and Part III here.


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