October 2006

News Review:- Asia

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In global e-Govt, South Korea adjudged the best

Asian countries once again dominate e-Government ratings, taking three of the top five spots in a global e-Government study undertaken by researchers at Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy. South Korea, which ranked 86 last year, emerged at the top, followed by Taiwan, Singapore, the United States and Canada. The study shows that currently 29% of government agencies worldwide are offering online services as compared to 19% in 2005. This year’s study reviewed 1,782 government websites in 198 countries during June and July 2006. A variety of different sites were analysed, which included executive, legislative and judicial offices as well as such departments and ministries of the government as health, education, foreign affairs, interior, finance, natural resources, foreign investment, transportation, military, tourism and telecommunications.

In another study conducted by the eGovernance Institute at Rutgers (State University of New Jersey) and the Global ePolicy eGovernment Institute at Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea), the city of Seoul in South Korea has been recognised as the top-performing city for digital governance. New York came second in the survey, followed by Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney. The report concluded: “There appears to be a continued divide in terms of digital governance between the developed and the developing world. It is very important for international organisations such as the UN and cities in advanced countries to attempt to bridge the digital divide.”

Brunei e-Governance plans on the move 
The e-Government Implementation Review Report August 2006 compiled by a team of consultants from Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) Company Sdn Bhd was recently handed over to Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Communications cum Chairman of Brunei Information Technology (BIT) Council. Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Managing Director of BSP, handed over the report. The objective of the review was to study the key factors and issues driving the e-Government programme, inventory the current status and draw up recommendations for improvements. The review began at the end of May 2006 and was completed in mid-August. The government has allocated US$900mn in the 8th National Development Plan for the implementation of the e-Government programme.

Meanwhile, in another development according to the Treasury Accounting and Financial Information Systems (TAFIS) sources 15 Department Purchase Order (DPO) clerks from the Brunei government underwent a 3-day course on Purchase Order Processing (PO Processing). An e-Government flagship initiative, TAFIS is led by the Ministry of Finance to improve the efficiency of government financial transaction processes. ‘

Bank Islam’s e-Zakat payment services extended in Malaysia 

Terengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maidam) recently signed and agreement with Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad to enable online payment of Zakaat to the council. The service would now be available through three Internet banking facilities – bankislam.biz, SMS banking (bankislam.sms) and financial process exchange (FPX). Card acceptance terminals at selected Maidam counters would also be installed by Bank Islam to facilitate customers pay their zakat via debit or MEPS Cash.

Taiwan to improve e-Competitiveness ranking
Taiwan has decided to launch a new initiative “Ubiquitous Networks Society” (UNS) to challenge the top five rank holders in e-Competitiveness. Taiwan is reportedly discontent with its current 7th ranking in the world for e-Competitiveness. As per its decision, Taiwan has now decided to move from “e-Taiwan” initiative to “M-Taiwan” (mobile Taiwan), which was launched in 2005. The UNS aims to accomplish four goal which includes establishing a high-speed Internet network, establishing basic laws to regulate an Internet society, developing killer applications to promote an IT-enabled service industry, and challenging the top five countries in e-Readiness. The World Economic Forum ranked Taiwan 7th among 115 countries in the 2006 Network Readiness Index. 

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