Electronic government, generally known as ‘E-government’ is the use of information and communication technologies in public administration combined with organizational change and new skills to improve public services and democratic processes and to strengthen support to public policies. E-government is a way for public administration to become more open and transparent, and to reinforce democratic participation: more service-oriented, providing personalized and inclusive services to each citizen.
Various countries, including Malaysia, are implementing E-government. The status of e-government implementation in Malaysia is widely discussed as to the potential of e-government implementation towards the public and businesses. The implementation of e-government started since the initiation of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) by the Malaysia government in 1996.
The E-government initiative in Malaysia was launched to lead the country into the Information Age. It use information technology and e-commerce to provide citizens and organizations with more convenient access to government information and services and to provide delivery of public services to citizens, business partners, and those working in the public sector. E-government services focus on four main customers which are citizens, the business community, government employees and agencies. In E-government system, individuals are able to initiate a request for a particular government service and then receive that government service through the Internet or some computerized mechanism. It seeks to improve the convenience, accessibility and quality of interactions with citizens and businesses; simultaneously, it will improve information flows and processes within government to improve the speed and quality of policy development, coordination and enforcement. This enabled the government to be more responsive to the needs of its citizens.
The myGovernment Portal (www.gov.my) acts as the one-stop source of Malaysian government information and services for the citizens.
E-government is one of the seven flagship applications introduced in MSC. Under the e-government flagship, seven main projects were identified to be the core of the e-government applications.
The e-government projects are:
1. Project Monitoring System (PMS)
2. Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS)
3. Generic Office Environment (GOE)
4. Electronic Procurement (EP)
5. Electronic Services (E-Services)
6. Electronic Labor Exchange (ELX)
The recent survey about e-government adoption in Malaysia, which was done by market information group TNS, indicated that the e-government use is growing but at a slow pace. As shown in the study, about 15% of Malaysians have used the internet to access online government services in year 2003 compared to 12% in year 2002. In the survey, Malaysia’s ranking is 25th out of 32 countries in terms of e-government usage growth. The Malaysians are also concerned about the security of doing transactions over the Internet and this resulted in low usage of e-government services. As far as the age group is concerned, the younger Malaysians who are under 34 are the primary users of e-government services. Also noted in the survey, households with high incomes and higher levels of education actively use the e-government services.
The implementation of e-government services will bring benefits to the public, businesses and the government itself. As for the public, saving time and money are the primary reasons to use the e-government implementation, the governments should market their offers, improve citizen’s awareness of the benefits and increase take-up of online services.
Ways to encourage more citizens to use the e-government applications:
- Provide websites with multiple language versions.
- Increase awareness through TV and radio advertisements, and organizing workshops at shopping malls.
- Provide consultation services on how to use those services.
- simplify procedures needed to access to the e-government services
Malaysian e-government successful applications:
- Government’s drive for e-government services
- Electronic Labour Exchange (www.elx.gov.my) has matched 75,000 potential employees with employers since 2005.
- SMS alert on e-government services
- Online renewal of driving licenses
- Electronic filing of income tax forms
- Voter information
- Employment opportunities
However, there are some problems faced in e-government implementation, such as technological barrier, legislative and regulatory barriers, language barrier, budgetary framework, online behavior, lack of public awareness, digital divide impedes the benefits of E-government, and so on. So, Malaysia is keep on improving the core government applications and integrating more services across agencies in order to solve the issues or problem faced by E-government and provide a better services to the citizens in future.
E-Services form an emerging field, which is rapidly gaining attention and importance. Citizens expect and demand governmental services with a high degree of quality, quantity, and availability in a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, and year-round fashion. Governments all over the world are developing information systems and electronic services that have the capacity to meet these emerging service needs and demands of citizens and other clients. Success in delivering electronic services depends upon the capability and self-confidence of citizens in performing e-transactions, as well as their trust and confidence in the protection of their personal data within an open and accountable government. The ease of use, compatibility, and trustworthiness are significant predictors of citizens’ intention to use e-Services and that perceived reactive advantage, perceived image, perceived compatibility, perceived usefulness, and relative advantage are significant elements of e-Government adoption.
The government should be able to propose an effective strategy to encourage citizen’s adoption of e-government by focusing on these 4 areas:
1. Customer satisfaction
E-Government adoption requires that citizens show higher levels of satisfaction with the online service provided by the government. A higher level of customer satisfaction will increase the rate of e-Government adoption.
2. Service Quality
Online service quality for e-Government could be measured in terms of quality of content provided on the website, the speed of the response to the citizens concerns with problem solving approach, and the availability of names. Other important measurement factors are telephone and fax numbers of personnel with whom citizens might need to get in touch, and the integration of an offline channel with online channel so that citizens could interact with government departments through other means if necessary. Higher quality of service will lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and thus can increase the use of e-government services.
3. Website Design
Personalization of websites, customization of product offerings, and self-care are the three key features that could be used not only to build relationship with the visitors, but also to enhance their experience. These features give visitors a sense of control and participation and could potentially enhance their adoption
4. User Characteristic
User characteristics such as perceived risk, perceived control, and internet experience can have a direct impact on internet adoption. Experience influences a citizen’s trust of e-Government. Users with prior experience, especially if satisfied, would be more likely to return to use e-Government services. Perceived risk leads to security and privacy issues that could discourage the use of online services. It is important to ensure that citizens can transact online securely and their personal information will be kept confidential to increase the level of trust and the e-government adoption rate.