Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali speaks about digitalising the delivery of government services, one of the key initiatives under the Penjana economic recovery plan, and how it will accelerate performance and reshape the civil service

QUESTION: Will the government introduce new key performance indicators (KPIs) in the public sector in line with the move to digitalise the delivery of services under the Penjana economic recovery plan?

Answer: The government's target to reach 40 per cent in end-to-end online services has enabled us to review the existing KPIs.

This will accelerate and facilitate services provided by all government agencies to the people under the new normal in the post-Covid-19 pandemic period.

When the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into force, many business activities could not proceed due to the temporary closure of government offices. For example, bank loans could not be finalised since the Stamp Duty Office was closed.

The initiatives under Penjana will encourage the creation of more facilities, which will enable the people as well as the business community to engage or obtain services from the government online.

Q: Can the government achieve its target of 40 per cent online services at federal, state and local authority agencies by the end of this year?

A: The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) is the leading government agency tasked with monitoring the implementation of the exercise to digitalise the delivery of services in the public sector. A task force has been formed to enable Mampu to work closely with officials at the ministerial level to monitor the digitalisation exercise.

Q: Has the government set up any other task forces or committees to oversee the implementation of this (digitalisation) exercise?

A: The Unit for the Implementation and Coordination of National Agencies on the Economic Stimulus Package (Laksana), formed by the Finance Ministry, will monitor the implementation of the initiatives rolled out by the government under all four economic stimulus packages.

Q: How are these packages and other initiatives going to be rolled out?

A: These initiatives will be implemented according to the Information and Communications Technology Strategic Planning for Public Sector Agencies which is aligned with the Public Sector ICT Strategic Plan.

Since 2015, Mampu has been conducting the Open Data Hackathon and Mobile App Hackathon programmes annually to stimulate the development of creative, quality and innovative applications or data products, which will have impacts on the delivery of services to the people.

The programmes, conducted on a small scale, have enabled the government to gauge ideas and create collaborative opportunities as well as foster a culture of innovation in all segments of the community, including university and school students, civil servants and industry players.

Among the outcomes of these simple yet effective programmes is the integration of the Rotation Management System with the appointment system at government health clinics or online interviews that were conducted during the Recovery MCO period.

Above all, we are committed to improving the quality of the government delivery service.

Q: The digitalisation of the delivery of government services will reduce physical transactions. How will such a digitalisation exercise reshape the public sector?

A: This exercise will enable the people to access efficient, seamless and fast services and reduce the need to visit counters at government agencies.

The reduction or closure of counters at government agencies can be carried out since the services are rendered online to the people.

Civil servants impacted by the reduction or closure of the counters can embark on reskilling and redeployment as needed.

The digitalisation exercise will also enable the government to identify what can be upgraded to end-to-end online

Q: Will the government maintain the work-from-home practice introduced to the public sector during the initial phases of the MCO, now that the outbreak is under control?

A: The government is considering continued implementation of the work-from-home setting in the public sector under the new normal.

This, however, requires a more detailed study to ensure it fulfils its intended purpose.

We have identified two main objectives, to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus and to manage the performance of civil servants by creating a balance between job requirement and personal obligation as well as increasing work satisfaction and productivity.

Among the aspects which need to be clearly outlined through a more detailed study are digital technology support, data privacy and security, suitability in the implementation of certain service schemes as well as the legal implication.

It has been proven during the MCO period that the public sector could still operate effectively even though in the work-from-home mode and flexible work-from-home settings.

The impact on the productivity of civil servants was minimal and the public sector was able to support the reopening of other economic sectors and business activities.

Almost all economic sectors can operate if the public sector carries out its work responsibly no matter what the work setting.

Q: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants red tape in the public service to be minimised to assist in post-Covid-19 recovery plans. How is this going to be done?

A: Malaysia is adopting the 6R strategy, namely Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalise and Reform in handling the Covid-19 crisis. The rolling out and implementation of Penjana marked our entry into the fourth 'R' which is the recovery phase.

The presentation of the 2021 Budget will mark the country's entry into the fifth phase of our strategy which is Revitalise.

The 12th Malaysia Plan is the last and final step of the six strategies. Our main focus in the implementation of each strategy is to drive economic growth by enabling the economic sector to resume and expand their businesses.

Each initiative designed and introduced under all four economic stimulus packages has been planned to provide access to several facilities so that all the assistance can be felt by the people and the business community.

The moratorium on loans (repayment) was given automatically to all without requiring any individual or company to apply for the facility.

The distribution of other assistance such as Bantuan Prihatin Nasional did not require anyone to reapply for assistance.

Even new applications for the assistance can be made with the minimum requirement of enclosing certain documents online.

Having said that, the government will continue to ensure and enhance the public sector delivery service and the 'ease of doing business'.

I have also chaired meetings which were attended by the secretaries-general of the ministries involved to monitor the implementation of the economic stimulus packages to ensure all actions are being carried out without any delay.