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Exclusive Thailand OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019 – Future of Digital Government: Opening Remarks

Thailand OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019
Thailand OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019

The Thailand OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019 that took place on October 17 at the Amari Watergate, Bangkok, was dedicated to its purpose of exploring and developing the digital capabilities of the Thai government across the various sectors.

The event saw delegates from various sectors come together and participate in four rounds of gamification and gain insights from the series of presentations and panel discussions. Thailand OpenGov Leadership Forum opening remarks were given by Mr. Mohit Sagar and Ms. Ajarin Pattanapanchai.

Pick Yourself Up After a Fall

Mohit Sagar
Mohit Sagar: Plan your next steps

Mohit started his presentation by talking about the 2008 global financial crisis. He emphasised the key lesson from the entire fiasco: change of leadership is imperative for pulling through crises.

The world is currently in a confused state, Mohit felt. No one understands what is going on and changes are happening constantly.

Boundaries have been erased, leading the global citizen (business community) to be lost.

Governments practice heavy regulation. He listed Uber and Airbnb as examples of businesses being affected by regulations.

“Banking is changing,” he said. Regulations in the banking industry have led to the emergence of FinTech today.

He stressed that technologies, cybersecurity and other aspects must be present all the time. He cited an example to underscore the gravity: the recent Sri Lankan bombings. Despite data being present and available, it was not acted upon and resulted in a catastrophe.

Mohit went on to talk about OpenGov’s 2019 prediction – AC/DC: AI, Cloud, Convergence and Data resilience. These would be the four pillars that would drive digital transformation.

He then spoke about a new concept in project management strategy: agile-fall. In any new journey, he said, failure is expected; indeed almost guaranteed, given the lack of knowledge. The key is picking yourself up after a fall, learning from it and moving ahead again.

One of the most important, and often the most overlooked, area is personnel. Having the right people around to boost capabilities is important.

As he concluded, Mohit reiterated to the delegates that they should actively think about what their next steps are and how they would manage them.

Smart Digital Government Efforts – Thailand

Ajarin Pattanapanchai
Ms Ajarin Pattanapanchai on Thailand’s digitalisation efforts

Ms Ajarin Pattanapanchai, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) graced the occasion by delivering the opening remarks on Thailand’s progress towards Thailand 4.0.

In a bid to bring the nation into the digital era, Thailand has designed strategies, undertaken key reforms, and initiated major projects.

The government has addressed all the major pillars that will both lay the foundation for and permit the growth of the digital landscape of Thailand.

She gave a comprehensive overview of the transformation efforts of the Thai government towards digitalising the nation.


“We are committed to transforming our government to propel the economy of innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability!”


Ms Ajarin said that MDES has collaborated with the Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to establish a “Village Broadband Internet Project”.

The outcome of this project is the provision of free Wi-Fi access to 24,700 villages across the country.

Law and Regulation

The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPR) and Cybersecurity Act were some of the initiatives shared by Ms Ajarin that have been implemented for regulating the use of digital technologies. The Digital Public Administration and Public Service Delivery Act is another initiative rolled out for the efficient and transparent delivery of public services using digital technology

Human Resources

Under MDES, the Government Big Data Institute (GBDi) was established as a subsidiary of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA).

This institute focuses on training new data scientists in efforts of boosting the use of data analytics to build Big Data proofs of concept.

Smart Tourism

With tourism being one of Thailand’s key economic areas, the government is looking into ways to make it more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Ms Ajarin shared that MDES is collaborating with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to create a smart tourism mobile platform that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to create a personalised experience for each tourist.

Digital Healthcare

The sharing of patients’ medical records between hospitals is not a practice among hospitals in Thailand. As such, MDES together with the Ministry of Public Health, National Health Security Office and selected hospitals to access patient’s data using citizen ID numbers. Patients will too in the future be able to access their medical records with this single ID.

Summing all these initiatives, Ms Ajarin said, “We want our smart digital government to benefit everyone”.

She added that the objective is to reduce inequality, create jobs, spread education and knowledge, and to increase the income of citizens.

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