June 2006

Asia

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Vietnam to issue regulation on e-Government

Phan Vãn Khai, Prime Minister of Vietnam, has instructed the ministers, heads of the government agencies and chairpersons of provincial people’s committees to examine and improve the issuance of administrative documents in order that paperwork be considerably decreased at State administrative bodies. The Vietnamese Government would be issuing a regulation on e-Government Internet access and management in the third quarter of 2006, which would mandate the ministries, branches and provincial people’s committees to send their administrative documents to the Government via the Internet.

Lately, Bac Ninh became the first locality in Vietnam to start e-Administration by adopting information technology in daily administrative management. The e-Administration system was launched by Nguyen Cong Ngo, Chairman of Bac Ninh Provincial People’s Committee. Ngo, speaking on the occasion, said, “Basically, administrative agencies in Bac Ninh have transcended the IT underdevelopment situation as compared to other localities across the country.”

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese State Treasury has unveiled its new e-Payment system to streamline its administrative procedures and meet the needs of other financial institutions. The nationwide e-Payment system is expected to meet a broader range of requirements in State budget accounting, which was lacking in the previous payment system.

15-year roadmap for informatisation development in China

China has formulated a 15-year roadmap for informatisation development, which has been unveiled by General Office of the CPC Central Committee and General Office of the State Council in the recently published ‘State Informatisation Development Strategy (2006-2020)’. The Strategy extensively deliberates on nine key aspects that includes promoting informatisation of the national economy; popularising e-Government; establishing advanced Internet culture; pushing ahead social informatisation; popularising information infrastructure; exploiting information resources more efficiently; improving information industry competition; building national information security system; improving peoples’ ability in using information technology; and cultivating more talents in information technology.

Brunei set up e-Islam Information Kiosks at strategic locations

Brunei’s Ministry of Religious Affairs would be installing e-Islam kiosks at 18 strategic locations across the country as part of its e-Government drive. A roadshow at the selected locations would also be organised to create awareness of the e-Islam Information Kiosks. The roadshow would disseminate information on daily life among the Muslim community, including activities related to mosque affairs, Islamic propagation, Hajj and many others using the easy and innovative ICT medium.

The kiosks would be located at the two State’s mosques, and would also be installed at major mosques in all the four districts. The kiosks would also be located at government premises such as Brunei International Airport, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital and public places — the Yayasan Shopping Complex in the capital and The Mall in Gadong.

Bangladesh opposition leader’s son supports e-Governance initiatives

Sajib Wajed Joy, son of Bangladesh Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Awami League Sheikh Hasina Wajed, has said that the government should introduce e-Governance initiatives in a big way and put all official information online to ensure transparency and accountability of the government. Indicating that the Awami League plans to incorporate e-Governance in its election manifesto, Joy said, “I believe e-Governance will eventually help eliminate corruption, which has become the number one problem today and the government has failed to contain it.”

Joy also suggested the setting up of a ‘venture fund’ to finance promising IT start-ups in Bangladesh. He also opined the creating up of a nationwide database and network for the police to increase the efficiency of the law enforcement agencies, improve law and order situation and prevent incidents of police abuse.

Joy, a US-educated computer engineer, gave his opinion while presenting the keynote paper at the seminar titled ‘The Potential and Challenges of Information Technology for the Future of Bangladesh’, which was organised by the Science
and Technology Sub-committee of Awami League.

UN award for South Korea

The United Nations 2006 Public Service Awards (PSA) would be bestowed on South Korea’s Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs on June 23, which is designated by the UN as Public Service Day. Introduced in 2000 by the UN and managed by its Department for Economic and Social Affairs, the PSA awards recognises the efforts by public organisations and agencies around the world in bettering transparency and accountability of public services and improving their delivery and responsiveness. Effective application of information and communication technology in public services such as e-Government initiatives also serves as a category in the competition.

Myanmar Internet users increasing

In Myanmar, the number of Internet users is considerably increasing, reaching 63,700 at the end of 2005 from a merely few thousands in 2000 thereby registering the highest rate of increase in Southeast Asia region in five years. However, the number of Internet users in Myanmar continues to be on the lower side when compared with other Southeast Asian countries, with one Internet user per 1,000 people.

On the e-Government front, Myanmar has launched some e-Government systems including e-Visa, e-Passport, and e-Procurement to effectively manage government bodies. In 2006, the Myanmarese government would be opening Internet service centres called ‘Public Access Centres (PAC)’ in 12 townships including Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Monywa, Taunggyi, Toungoo, Pyay, Pyinmana, Magway, Myeik, Kawthoung and Shwebo. The government has decided to open Internet service centres in Myanmar’s 326 townships in the near future. The Internet service centres are expected to facilitate communications particularly in the sectors of business and education.

Online exam system for seafarers in Philippines

In Philippines, seafarers intending to take examinations for marine deck officer licenses would no longer have to wait for hours in the sweltering sun to register for the professional exam. The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) recently indicated that it is ready with its computerised walk-in examination process under the Licensure Examination and Registration System (Leris), wherein seafarers wanting to take examinations for marine deck officer licenses can register online, take the walk-in computerised exam, and get the results soon after the test.

Leonor Tripon-Rosero, PRC chairperson, said, “The long wait is over. The implementation of Leris was nine years late in coming. Filipinos from 42 types of professions seeking license or renewal of their license including teachers, nurses, mechanical engineers, dentists, x-ray technicians etc. would be able to take the online examination. Seafarers would be the first sector on which the system would be applied. Every year beginning 2006, some 5,000 seafarers are expected to register online and take the computerised exams.”

Meanwhile, as part of the e-Government initiative the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of Philippines has launched its new service, Trademark Electronic Filing System (TM Online), at its office in Makati City thus becoming the newest government agency to join the e-Government process. Through the TM Online, the user can apply for the registration of trademarks, service marks, geographical indications and other marks of ownership.

In Malaysia, e-Filing awaits adoption prominently

Taxpayers in Malaysia are yet to take up e-Filing aggressively. According to reports, only 128,306 individual taxpayers in the country have agreed for tax assessment via the new e-Filing system. Currently, Malaysia has 4 million individual taxpayers. The report also said that only 6,515 people out of more than 280,000 individual taxpayers have so far signed up and received their digital certificate registration slips at the Internal Revenue Board (IRB)’s Johor Baru branch. The registration slip, which has a PIN and serial number to access the e-Filing system online, can be obtained at any IRB branch.

Nor’azam Sulaiman, Johor Baru branch Public Relations Assistant Director, said, “Taxpayers would get immediate acknowledgement once they submit forms through the e-Filing system. In fact, it is simpler and more convenient. Sadly, people are slow to adopt new technology and are concerned over security. But there is nothing to worry about. The system is secure.”

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