The digital economy grew rapidly in 2020, as the pandemic drove businesses to ramp up their online offerings. Similarly, the “new normal is forcing the public sector to speed up digital transformation initiatives to ensure that citizens continue to have mission-critical services uninterruptedly and seamlessly.
Governments and agencies around the world are implementing a slew of digital transformation strategies to enhance citizen satisfaction and experience as well as to cut costs. These initiatives have been accelerated by the pandemic and, in some cases, it has helped clean up systems. While the pandemic has revealed flaws, it has also created opportunities to strategise and strengthen economic, societal and infrastructure resilience, effectiveness, and responsiveness.
The public sector is currently focusing on improving service delivery by deploying digital technologies to broaden its scope and quality. This includes improving e-government portals to become more efficient through monitoring and progress analysis.
The adoption of cloud technologies has seen a significant uptake, as it plays a critical role in enabling the rapid transition to remote working and scaling up services to meet surging demand.
Like other countries, Malaysia is also still facing significant challenges as a result of the crisis. It has impacted Malaysians of all ethnicities and social classes, as well as both the public and private sectors. Entire industries have been disrupted and many day-to-day interactions are now virtual.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint has been developed to set the direction, outline the strategies, initiatives and targets to drive the growth of the digital economy, including bridging the digital divide. By capitalising on existing opportunities, the Blueprint will ensure that the country is ready to embrace digital technology and realise the aspirations of MyDIGITAL.
It has compelled the public sector to optimise IT architecture and processes, as well as hastened the adoption of cloud technologies, managing technological risks and scaling up government services to the uptick in demand.
The government now collects performance data regularly that can provide insights to be used for future planning and decision-making. This will result in a forward-thinking public sector that uses relevant citizen data to move toward more proactive and, possibly, predictive service delivery.
It is evident that a successful Digital Transformation programme will improve transparency, accuracy, and accountability, ensuring Malaysian citizens benefit from an improved democratic process.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 23rd September 2021 – a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with Malaysia’s top government agencies. The session is focused on imparting the current advancements and measurements in the Public Sector’s digital transformation journey towards efficiency.
Citizen-centric solutions for future-ready government
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
During the pandemic, he acknowledges, the demand for online services skyrocketed. As a result, many businesses offered a plethora of personalised options which has made customers more discerning and demanding. According to Mohit, the rate of this acceleration is driven and underpinned by technological advancements. Certain platforms empower organisations significantly – which is ultimately what organisations and governments seek.
In addition to digital offerings, there has been a paradigm shift in the way people think about and adopt any technology. Moreover, there has been a radical change in the culture after the pandemic. The approach to new platforms, new solutions and new applications are far different from the pre-pandemic era. People, organisations and governments see the need for and are willing to take the risk to adopt new ways of doing things online, digitally and remotely.
The main challenge for governments as they endeavour to meet the changed demands of citizens is juggling many things at once – infrastructure, processes, security and upskilling. With the amazing job that retail and banking have done compounded with the ubiquity of smart devices and the transition to becoming digital-natives, citizens are far more tech-savvy. Every household in every country now uses technology in their daily lives and data plays a critical role in this digital landscape.
Citizen requirements are evolving – they demand more, faster and easier services – and are growing by the day. To manage these expectations and meet the demands, governments need to become more tech-dependent and agile; but there is much opposition to change.
This resistance can be overcome if organisations collaborate intentionally and proactively. Planning a digital strategy involves engaging and collaborating with multiple stakeholders. This requires not only time and technology but expertise.
Mohit believes that finding the right partner is critical to success. Working with experts frees agencies to concentrate on their core mandates and deliverables.
The new normal needs a new way of thinking
Eric Quah, Country Manager, Red Hat Malaysia, in his opening address emphasised how digital transformation, driven by COVID-19, has irreversibly changed people’s lives and daily activities.
He emphasised the importance of being a citizen and the responsibilities that go with being one. People need to have clear and realistic expectations of transformational change from the government. There must be an accurate and reasonable understanding of what a government can and should do in the light of what is essential and required to thrive in the current scenario.
Eric thanked Mohit for hosting the event and expressed the hope that it would provide knowledgeable and informative insights on advancing the digital transformation milestones.
My Digital Government for the Future – The Open-Source Way
Danielle Lee, Transformation Specialist, APAC Transformation Office, Red Hat acknowledged how everything had changed overnight when COVID-19 hit the world in late 2019. In the months that followed, practices, platforms and processes that were put in place – for the most part reactively and ad-hoc – have become the SOP for the “new norm”.
The pandemic, in her opinion, has put tremendous pressure on organisations to shift to digital and this new norm is required to operate with speed, scalability and stability. A few services have emerged as the new digital norm stand out in terms of transformation.
For instance, the Open API system has changed the way institutions think about technology and security. Organisations to interact digitally through the integrated and seamless Customer Experience methods. These have now become essential and are no longer merely ‘good to have’ – they are a top objective and expectation needed to provide a frictionless experience for end-users.
Currently, everything is online or via mobile and there is renewed pressure to transform how Malaysians interacts with the government.
Danielle agreed with Eric’s statement that agencies and organisations can play a role in leveraging data that they already have on citizens to interact, engage and communicate with greater speed and improved experiences using analytics.
From her experience and lessons learnt while creating a digital bank and other digital initiatives, she shared a few Key Differentiating Technology Capabilities that are necessary for digital leaders.
At the top are platform scalability, where modern, cloud-native systems can be scaled to meet growing customer demand, partner integration requirements and data processing needs while maintaining a cost advantage.
There are substantial difficulties when integrating legacy systems, especially where the legacy integration layers were not ready to be scaled and could not use cloud because bare-metal servers were used at the time. Those challenges, however, had taught the agency to be future-ready when implementing a cloud strategy.
In these scenarios, the importance of a scalable cloud-native container platform, such as Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, running on top of hybrid cloud infrastructure is easily seen. The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is a dependable hybrid cloud foundation for developing and scaling containerised applications. The platform provides a single pane of glass for managing workloads across servers in an agnostically.
“Having a right common platform right across multiple platforms, Danielle says,” I think that is kind of important foundation for us as an organisation to build our digital service.”
The advanced data analytics engine includes AI and ML capabilities to improve a personalised customer experience and also efficiency gains through processing services automation is the next pillar on the Key Differentiating Technology Capabilities.
Agile integration plays a role in these three capabilities. “The truth is that data integration, as Mohit mentioned earlier, is coming from all over the place,” Danielle said. This is where an open architecture platform that enables hybrid integration across application services both internally and externally can support rapid external growth such as through partnerships.
In closing, Danielle said that although technology is important, culture also needs to be reflected equally.
Enjoy transformation with continuous innovation and collaboration
David Graham, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Carlsbad, the next speaker, has been working with the government and private sector for the past 20 years.
There is a lot to be said for the question posed by previous speakers, “How do you know when to bring technology and lessons learnt during the pandemic to truly make things better for the people or citizens we serve?”
To deal with that, David first shared a little about the country he works with. There are 18 cities in a county in the San Diego region, and Carlsbad has a population of about 1.4 million people; however, small and large cities alike are focused on how they can use data and technology to improve the lives of their residents.
San Diego is well known for its work on IoT and for its innovative companies that are part of the city’s innovation ecosystem – which has led to the county’s transformation journey. For example, the region has the world’s first all-electric car fleet and the largest deployment of smart streetlights and is consistently addressing climate change from all fronts. Adoption of technology in the county is high and the appetite for more keeps growing.
Carlsbad explored the development of digital tools for citizens and the insights were provided by the citizens or residents themselves – assisting the government to drive change using those insights.
David elaborated on a strategy they call “Connected Carlsbad” that is built on 5 pillars:
- Pursue community-wide digital transformation
- Build capacity for Data-driven Decision making
- Foster a vibrant civic engagement culture
- Enhance accessibility and transparency
- Promote safety and sustainability through connectivity
Ultimately, Carlsbad is still looking for its “moon-shot.” Some of the greatest things that have happened in the world today have occurred as a result of problems and challenges, but they have been done collectively, and that is the type of moon-shot that Carlsbad is looking for.
“One might wonder what there is to learn if we are already there?” David ponders. “Now that innovation has advanced, what do organisations do on their transformation journey?
He answerers that with a quote from Mark Zuckerberg – move fast and break things – and then exhorts the delegates, “Now you do good, and you can also break things.”
One way to assess how an organisation or country is doing is a digital maturity model that has levels of where organisations is that ranges from digital novice to best in class. Several factors contribute to the success of a digital transformation strategy and creativity. Skills, resources, infrastructure; even culture can be either an accelerant or a detriment to innovation.
Organisations, he believes, should put all of their learning in the context of what they are trying to achieve, taking an inclusive approach to development or innovation that is being implemented. It should not only be collaborative but have a greater level of inclusivity, equity, understanding and empathy.
David stresses that the common thread when governments and organisations have been successful is when they have put people first. “All of this collaboration and connection, followed by shared understanding and information, are really some of the best ways for us to be able to drive change in our organisation and communities throughout our country.
David concluded by stating that there is no end to this digital transformation journey and that it is always a continuous effort that must be adopted each day. “It’s best”, he says, “to continue and enjoy this transformation journey.”
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked is what external help organisations think is needed most to accelerate their digital transformation journey. An overwhelming majority (80%) of the participants answered mindset change and new ways of working. The remaining fifth were equally divided between building the framework and a standard platform (10%) and agile integration (10%).
The next poll was on their biggest challenge in digitalisation. More than half (53%) went with common framework and platform. About a quarter (26%) said people and skillsets were a challenge while 11% opted for scalability. The remaining delegates were evenly split between answered long release cycles (5%) and stated change could result in incidences and outages (5%).
When asked what their success factors for digitalisation were, 38% indicated customer experience and another 38% opted for speed to deliver. Stability was chosen by 12%, 6% said scalability and the balance 6% has others.
Delegates were questioned about their organisation’s cloud strategy. More than (56%) answered hybrid cloud, 28% said private cloud, 11% went with all on-premises and 5% chose multi-cloud.
When queried on what the top challenges in leveraging data are between the organisations, half said they were unable to do so because of security constraints. Just under a third (31%) considered data integration the biggest challenge while 19% had other issues.
In sharing what the key value and driver of a government cloud is, 59% agreed it was security while 29% opted for standardisation and governance. The remainder were balanced between the total cost of ownership/price (6%) and integration (6%).
On what their plans were to develop new applications and to modernise their legacy applications, 44% said they would outsource, 33% would opt for SaaS, 17% would re-write while 6% confirmed they would retire.
The final question asked how they would characterise the current stage of digital transformation in their organisation. 42% said they were planning but no work implementation or execution had been done yet. A third (32%) indicated that an MVP / pilot project had been rolled out and a quarter (26%) said a full-scale implementation of more than one programme or project had been undertaken.
As more organisations and agencies accelerate their digital transformation efforts, challenges and difficulties are unavoidable. Continuing resource constraints necessitates increased legislative priority, budget constraints and the preservation of an existing system. To address these and other issues, it is clear that the future of government will be digital.
Citizens’ expectations are important in all of this, and governments all over the world are working hard to meet them. Innovative technology must be used to empower and improve government agencies’ business practices while also lowering costs and making the citizen experience as smooth and efficient as possible.
In closing, Eric Quah, Country Manager of Red Hat Malaysia and Jovern Lim, Enterprise AE of Intel Corporation thanked the delegates for attending the event session. Eric praised the participants for providing useful information, “It is all about sharing one another’s thoughts to learn from the challenges and improve.”
He agreed that digital transformation was here to stay and that changes will inevitably occur. It is a radical shift that organisations should make a habit of. Red Hat is not only known for its open-source operating systems, but the company is always ready to help customers modernise their existing systems and build new infrastructure while adhering to budgets, following regulations and ensuring citizens have the best possible experience.
Jovern Lim, an Intel executive, was impressed by the delegates’ enthusiasm. The discussion was enlightening and would go a long way to informing their own strategies and thought processes when dealing with organisations down the road.
He noted that compute power is necessary for areas like multi-function IoT devices as mentioned by David. Today’s businesses are increasingly reliant on computing power and the development of better technology-enabled devices. Every connection and computer requirement is mission-critical with the integration of intelligence into every device we encounter.
David Graham noted that ultimately, it all comes down to putting people first. He was delighted to have conveners such as the OpenGov Asia team, Red Hat and Intel, as it demonstrates that there will always be people who are passionate about transforming the world.
Mohit concluded the session by thanking thanked everyone and expressing his hope that this session was beneficial. He advised organisations to continue pushing for digital acceleration and to not stop transforming.
Modern livestock development based on precision technology has become one of the options for continuously meeting household demands. Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture, advocated using the technology to improve the resilience of Indonesian cattle products.
“We have to support innovative animal husbandry techniques (and the breeders) to use KUR (people’s business credit) to meet capital demands,” Syahrul said at the kickoff of the National Technical Coordination Meeting in Jakarta.
According to SYL, the world’s cattle sector is currently in decline due to a lack of fodder because swept away by floods and extreme weather. He stressed the challenges were worldwide, with direct consequences for distribution routes and high inflation. However, he urged ministry workers to find a means to meet the meat demands of 270 million Indonesians as part of the ministry’s obligation.
Nasrullah, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Director General of Livestock and Animal Health, stated that the government had established a strategy to deal with the global food crisis. Increasing food production capacity for commodities such as cattle, buffalo, purebred chicken, free-range chicken, lamb/goat, duck, and pork is one of them. The Ministry of Agriculture continues to expand production capacity and increase exports of swiftlet nests, chickens, and chicken eggs to various Asian countries.
“Through the synergy of business players, we will create priority livestock commodities on a corporate basis, precision, and integrated with a livestock supply programme of 10 million heads through the development of goats/sheep, ducks, and chickens,” he explained.
Additionally, Syahrul encourages regional and central government cooperation and synergy to be reinforced to preserve existing output and strengthen the resilience of Indonesian cattle products. Particularly in terms of job division and work duties within each work unit. He proposes that each division’s tasks be clarified to decide the subsequent measures. Measurement is required to determine critical activities and control task efficacy.
The livestock industry has used technological advancement to modernise. In New Zealand, the government employed a new antibody testing robot to provide faster and more accurate tests for animal sickness. A 750kg high-throughput diagnostic robot worth NZ$ 580,000 (US$ 376,736.10) will improve testing reliability and precision throughout future biosecurity interventions.
The first-of-its-kind technology will aid in disease control among breeds since they will need to analyse 3,000 to 7,000 samples daily. By automating this process, farmers will profit from speedier outcomes while enhancing the well-being of the people and animals involved. The system, developed in Germany, can test up to 7,000 samples daily for antibodies to FMD and other exotic diseases.
The robot is self-sufficient and does not need constant supervision or interaction. This frees up animal health laboratory personnel for other tests and ensures stability during intense reaction periods. Even without human involvement, the robot can run experiments overnight. Delays in testing can have an economic impact because antibody testing is critical for preserving access and security of goods exports to New Zealand’s overseas markets. If an exotic disease outbreak occurs in New Zealand’s animals, automation will help the country to recover more quickly.
Meanwhile, agricultural sectors known as smart agriculture have been modernised by technology. It boosts output, addresses farm-related issues such as food demand, and makes farms more connected and intelligent. Precision farming, variable rate technologies, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouses are innovative agriculture applications that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT). The innovative farming method provides farmers with higher yields, higher-quality products, and the ability to cultivate crops regularly all year. The technology satisfies the market’s requirement for food efficiency and sufficiency.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a mobile application for the Khelo India Youth Games 2022. The app gives participating athletes, coaches, support staff, parents of athletes, and officials from all states participating in the Games access to information about the competition, through a single platform. This is the first time that a dedicated application has been launched for the Khelo India Youth Games.
The App has a dedicated athlete login and supports the athlete right from the time of their registration into the games, through the entire course of the Games. The app gives the athlete a chance to check if their verified documents have been uploaded before the start of the Games. According to a government press release, this will ensure greater transparency for athletes in the registration process. The application is available both for Android and Apple phones and can be downloaded free of cost.
As the athlete registers for the games and arrives at the Games venues in Madhya Pradesh, they can check the status of the issuance of their sporting kits, the hotel where they will stay, transportation plan for athletes to and from the venue, as well as have important contact numbers where athletes can connect in case of an emergency. Further, to ensure that athletes have immediate responses to queries raised by them during the Games, a chatbot has also been created. For sports fans, the application gives access to match schedules, medal tally, addresses of Games venues, and the photo gallery.
The Khelo India Youth Games are held every year. They are national-level multidisciplinary grassroots games held in January or February for two categories: under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. This year, the Games will be held in Bhopal from 30 January to 11 February. The competition has been divided into twelve different verticals, including developing state-level Khelo India centres, talent identification and development, sports for women, and the promotion of sports amongst people with disabilities.
The government has launched several applications and online services to promote athletics. For instance, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) launched the National Anti-Doping Agency app. It provides athletes with a one-stop solution for all anti-doping-related information. The app helps athletes understand anti-doping rules and regulations and provides a platform for athletes to report any potential anti-doping violations.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Fit India App to encourage people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. The app provides offers a range of features such as fitness challenges, workout routines, health tips, and a record of daily physical activity. The app also provides users with a dashboard that helps them track their progress and set goals for themselves. Its age-appropriate fitness protocols, approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), test the fitness level of the user. Based on the results of the fitness tests, the app gives users a fitness score that tells them how fit they are and then further suggests activities to improve their health and fitness level.
Automated elections are cost-effective because they can accommodate up to 1,000 voters per clustered precinct instead of 500 voters per precinct in manual ballots, necessitating paying more workers. Therefore, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Cavite 4th District advised his colleagues in the House of Representatives to employ the Automated Elections System (AES) in the Barangay (village) and local council Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) elections on October 30 this year.
In House Resolution 717, which he submitted on Wednesday, Barzaga asked the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms to launch an investigation into the Electoral Reform Act. The viability and feasibility of executing automated BSK polls are discussed.
“It will not only result in faster outcomes and the announcement of victors, but it will also eliminate human involvement or error and confusion in the evaluation of ballots on an experimental basis on the BSK Elections in major barangays, ideally in Metro Manila,” he convinced.
There are 42,022 barangays in the country as of October 2022, each with one punong barangay (local official) and seven Sangguniang Barangay (village council) members, one SK chairperson and seven representatives.
There will be two polls for the BSK elections, one for ordinary voters aged 18 and above and another for SK electors aged 15 to 30. The lawmakers suggested repurposing and adjusting the existing Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) to accept two ballots from registered voters. Then, the devices can independently summarise the Barangay and SK elections’ scores.
The BSKE, scheduled for October this year, will use a manual election system in which voters will write the names of candidates on ballots. Historically, manual elections can encounter issues such as imprecise counting, perception, and appreciation of votes. The integration of votes in larger Barangays usually takes two to three days, as opposed to automated elections, which immediately transmit the results to the canvassing centre upon closing of the voting.
Barzaga stated that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was praised for conducting the national and municipal polls on May 9, 2022, for having the fastest results and largest voter turnout since the Philippines adopted the AES in 2010, and that the public has accepted the outcomes of the elections. The 2022 national and municipal elections were attended by 55,290,821, or 84.10 per cent of the 67,745,526 registered voters.
The resolution also said that the Comelec owned the 97,000 reconditioned vote-counting machines (VCMs) it purchased in 2016 and leased more VCMs for the 2022 elections and that a portion of these machines will be used in the BSK Elections in the pilot barangays. Barzaga believes voters are well-versed in using AES since The Philippines have used the technology in the national and municipal elections in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has indicated that it is open to holding automated village votes. Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia noted that they would investigate the possibility of executing a pilot test of barangay and SK election automation in specific areas/precincts. He mentioned that Barzaga contacted him about the proposition earlier this week.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11935 on October 10, 2022, rescheduling December 5, 2022, BSK elections to October 30, 2023, and holding other polls every three years after that. Meanwhile, earlier this month, OFW Party List Rep. Marissa Magsino suggested that the government should change the existing law to increase voting options to prevent voter disenfranchisement of about 1.83 million OFWs exercising their right to vote. The proposed legislation would enable Filipino personnel working abroad to vote via email, web-based portals, and other internet-based technologies.
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has said that with the involvement of an artificial intelligence (AI) layer, the country’s architecture will become more sophisticated in the future.
He was addressing the first India Stack Developers conference, which aimed to facilitate the adoption of India Stack for countries that are keen to integrate it as per their requirements and to create a robust ecosystem of startups, developers, and system integrators working around it on next-generation innovation. He said the government wants to offer India Stack or part of the stack to those enterprises and countries across the world who want to innovate and further integrate, execute, and implement digital transformation. India Stack is a set of open indigenously-developed APIs and e-governance and public applications.
“What we have now is just [the] India Stack 1.0 version. It will evolve and become more sophisticated and nuanced,” Chandrasekhar explained. A smart dataset programme will be launched soon, and an AI layer will be built into the stack. Seven countries will sign up with the Indian government to use India Stack.
The conference was conducted to bring together the developer community, start-ups, corporations, and foreign governments who are inspired by the India Stack and want to adopt digital public goods like Aadhaar, United Payments Interface (UPI), and Digilocker. Senior officials from Aadhaar, GeM (Government e-marketplace), Diksha, a public ed-tech initiative, and the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission gave presentations on the strategies of each platform. Over one hundred digital leaders from industry associations, system integrators, and start-ups attended the event. It also saw participation from delegates of G20 countries.
Debjani Ghosh, President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), stated that India using digital means has achieved financial inclusion for 80% of the population in 6 years as compared to the projected figure of 46 years.
The CEO of Aadhaar, Saurabh Garg, spoke about the impact the biometric identification system has had in the country. It has recorded over 1.3 billion sign ups till now and handles around 75 million daily transactions. The transactions involve e-authentication by various organisations such as fintech, banks, and other Aadhaar-enabled payment services.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification card that serves as proof of identity and address for Indian citizens. As per the latest government data, in November, 287 million e-know your customer (e-KYC) transactions were carried out using Aadhaar, a 22% growth over the previous month. By the end of November, the cumulative number of e-KYC transactions had reached 13.5 billion. As OpenGov Asia reported, the Aadhaar e-KYC service is playing an increasingly crucial role in banking and non-banking financial services. It provides transparent and enhanced customer experiences.
An e-KYC transaction is executed, only after the explicit consent of the Aadhaar holder, and eliminates physical paperwork, and in-person verification requirements for KYC. Telecom operators and fintech firms, among others, have seen ease in the onboarding of new customers through eKYC. In November, 1.95 billion Aadhaar authentication transactions were carried out, 11% more than in October. Most of these monthly transactions were carried out by using fingerprint biometric authentication, followed by demographic and OTP authentication.
The Philippines has begun issuing individual electronic land titles (e-titles) to 1,839 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the Eastern Visayas region. The Department of Agrarian Reform will give the ARBs their personalised e-titles (DAR).
DAR stated that 2,591 electronic titles (e-titles) totalling 3,922 hectares of the agricultural property would be given on Jan. 26 as part of the Support to Parcelisation of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT Project). The first batch of individual titles developed by the SPLIT Project will be distributed in the Visayas State University-Tolosa Campus auditorium.
According to DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III, this is per President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s direction to hasten the issuance of land titles to ARBs this year and to provide support services to help them better their living conditions.
“We will issue individual e-titles to preserve and affirm our ARBs’ property rights,” he explained.
The SPLIT initiative proposes fast-tracking the subdivision of national collective certificates of land ownership award (CCLOAs) of around 1.3 million hectares of land. The World Bank supported the SPLIT initiative to partition CCLOAs and tribute individual titles to ARBs.
According to DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu, the SPLIT project includes approximately 17,496 CCLOAs encompassing a total of 220,473 hectares of agricultural properties throughout the region. Yu stated that the area has verified around 67,601 hectares, while 3,922 hectares have been granted with e-titles.
The SPLIT project seeks to fully implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme by allowing farmer-beneficiaries to have clear and defined ownership of the parcels of land they are tilling. The e-titling aim to stimulate farmers to grow their crops and make long-term progress on their ground. The award to ARBs was also established to stabilise requests, tenure ship, govern lands, and generate short-term economic opportunities for project workers who will be employed in the project.
Estrella stated in an earlier interview that farmers could not successfully use the land to make income because they needed to know the metes and bounds of the land assigned to each of them. Estrella believes that by granting farmers individual rights, more ARBs will be inspired to enhance their landholdings, resulting in higher agricultural output and household income.
The Philippines pushed land management digitalisation. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Land Management Bureau (LMB) has fully integrated the Land Administration Management System (LAMS) databases of 16 local and community environment and natural resource bureaus in the Philippines into their respective regional offices.
LAMS is a computer-based information system consolidating the country’s land data and records. It is geared for quick and straightforward land information processing, tracking, and retrieval. As a result, the DENR-NCR and DENR-Calabarzon Regional LAMS datasets were combined to create LMB-LAMS.
LMB also pooled and assessed 19 towns undergoing Digital Cadastral Database Cleansing through different DENR regional offices. LMB Director Emelyne Talabis adds that the agency is happy with its accomplishments this year on critical programmes, which resulted in improved delivery of land-related services to Filipinos.
The Philippines generally attempted to improve its digital competencies after falling behind. The Philippines placed last among Southeast Asian countries in the 2022 World Digital Competitiveness Ranking. Furthermore, it is the 13th largest economy in Asia, trailing only Mongolia.
The Senate has rolled out an act to push the complete e-governance implementation in the Philippines. All government agencies, offices, and instrumentalities, including local government entities, are required under the bill to disclose all necessary information in both traditional and online formats. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be the principal agency in enforcing the provisions of the Act.
The Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) join forces with a government IT firm to create a digital Public Service Mall (MPP). The initiative is a follow-up to President Joko Widodo’s directive to establish MPP Digital.
According to Minister PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas, the IT government company is more advanced in digitalisation implementation. MPP Digital incorporates numerous services into the hand to make it easier for people to access high-quality government services.
“MPP Digital provides effective and efficient service delivery while enhancing information security for government digital services. The government IT company team will expedite the President’s vision for MPP Digital,” he explained.
MPP Digital is also expected to increase investment by allowing for faster and easier licencing, leading to job possibilities. In addition, the local administration will not need to construct a massive MPP building but will rely on digitalisation that everyone can access.
MPP Digital is expected to be ready by May 2023, following the President and Vice President’s directives. The creation of MPP Digital is also under the government’s present implementation of the Electronic Based Government System (SPBE).
At the same time, Ririek Adriansyah, the Main Director of the government IT company, declared his willingness to support the government’s initiative. He conveyed that the construction of MPP Digital was proceeding as planned because the digitalisation of services has enormous potential benefits for both the government and the general public.
Additionally, the government is working hard to progress SPBE, including introducing Digital Public Service Malls (MPP) as one of SPBE’s expressions. SPBE is also a component of President Joko Widodo’s Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which is aimed at digitising government services.
The next Electronic-Based Government System (SPBE) aims to strengthen unity by offering a single access system for the country’s digital services, resulting in higher public service quality. Nowadays, the state’s digital public sector is still fragmented by agency, sector, and silo-based systems. As a result, citizens are frequently required to submit similar data and register several accounts to access various digital-based public sector services.
As a result, Anas will pursue a single sign-on account for users to access various government services. Users can utilise their accounts to access all public services e-services, such as population issues, business permissions, and other certifications. Digital MPP has done so following President Jokowi’s and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin’s objective to achieve bureaucratic reform with simple, powerful, and quick replies to the community.
More MPPs have been built and inaugurated by the government. In the future, all regions will have physical and digital MPPs, with all government services based on demographic numbers (Digital ID). MPP Digital, on the guidance of the President and Vice President, has become the PANRB ministry’s short-term focus.
As of December 2022, 103 MPPs (20% of the total of 514 regencies/cities in Indonesia) had been inaugurated in regencies and cities. Thus, fewer than 80%, or approximately 411 districts/cities, still need MPP. The Vice President aimed for roughly 150 new MPPs in 2023, with all towns and regencies having MPPs by the end of 2024.
The Ministry of PANRB has evaluated 10-15 MPPs (Public Service Malls) for inclusion in the future Digital MPP development process. These MPPs were chosen for their uniqueness, benefits, and good qualities. In general, the MPP Digital application development will be divided into four stages: requirements, design, testing, and upgrading.
Anas emphasised that government digitisation is a critical driver in enhancing the quality of public services, which would increase people’s well-being. Bureaucratic reform must increase investment and streamline business services, boosting the economic level of society. Improving the community’s financial level will undoubtedly influence the lowering poverty rate.
This year, the government wants relevant ministries and agencies to tighten management and increase oversight of e-commerce activities to identify violations and prevent tax losses. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will work with departments from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Finance to share data and better regulate business activity on social media and in cyberspace.
The inspections will also focus on ensuring that e-commerce platforms and social networks are taking proper steps to screen, prevent and block accounts that do not provide adequate information or have signs of trading in counterfeit or illegal goods.
The E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will continue to collaborate with other government agencies such as the Market Management Agency, the Department of Cybersecurity and High-Tech Crime Prevention, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and MIC to inspect and monitor e-commerce businesses for compliance with the law, in accordance with plans approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade.
The agency will also evaluate existing policies and make practical changes to improve the management of e-commerce business activities. It will upgrade infrastructure and supporting services and incorporate new technologies to assist the digital transformation of businesses.
Furthermore, the agency will offer training to improve the inspection and handling of violations in e-commerce. It will organise events to promote anti-counterfeiting and encourage e-commerce website operators to better protect consumers’ interests.
Last year, Vietnam’s e-commerce industry continued to grow and become a significant distribution channel. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, e-commerce has been a leading sector in the digital economy. A survey from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that retail e-commerce revenue in Vietnam increased by 20% in 2022 as compared to 2021, reaching US$ 16.4 billion. This accounted for 7.5% of the total retail sales of goods and services in the country.
To establish trust for consumers in online shopping, safeguard legitimate traders, and foster e-commerce development, the government reviewed and requested e-commerce companies to remove or lock 1,663 stalls with 6,437 counterfeits or violated goods, and blocked five infringing websites.
Experts recommend that there should be regulations on the responsibility of information security of relevant organisations and individuals in order to prevent tax loss and protect business interests. This includes regulations on the security of websites and the responsibility to provide information to tax authorities, which would help make tax management more effective.
Associate Professor Le Xuan Truong, Director of the Academy of Finance’s Faculty of Taxation and Customs under the Ministry of Finance, suggested that the government should implement a regulation that forces e-commerce trading floors to be responsible for withholding and paying taxes on behalf of individuals as well as perform payment intermediary services and participate in operating and controlling delivery activities and receiving money from buyers. Over 40 countries worldwide so far have regulated the responsibility of e-commerce exchanges in deducting taxes of individuals if the floor provides payment services, or directly participates in the delivery and receipt of goods by buyers and sellers.