Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Management Research

Transforming Public Service Delivery in Malaysia: The Case of the Implementation of E-Government in Local Governments

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Management Research

Transforming Public Service Delivery in Malaysia: The Case of the Implementation of E-Government in Local Governments

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

E-government provides many benefits to public administration. It reduces the wide gap in public interaction with the government and shortens the application process for varied licences, permits and approvals. With the installation of intelligent and systematic electronic databases at agencies, e-government makes government administration more cost-effective and public service delivery more efficient and effective (Razlini Mohd Ramli, 2012; Rustam Khairi, Raja Noriza, Nurhawani & Norzailawati, 2014). In addition, Schuppan (2009) suggests e-government as an essential reform for the government. This is because e-government can greatly simplify and speed up government activities and service delivery. Turner and Hulme (1997) too consider that e-government can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the public-service delivery mechanism. Such benefits are especially so at the local government level.

Advances in ICTs are undoubtedly making local authorities increasingly knowledge-based in the execution of their development functions (Baum, Yigitcanlar, Mahizhnan, &Andiappan 2008).To maximise the impact of e-government on local government operations one will require an in-depth understanding of the specific issues and problems that hinder the successful planning and implementation of e-government at local level.

Malaysia's administrative system has moved forward from the conventional and manual system to a digital and technology-based system. This paradigm shift towards an administrative paradigm anchored in digital technology was first envisaged in the Vision 2020 Statement drawn up in 1991. In achieving this vision, Malaysia's e-government was introduced in 1996 with the launching of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) - a land area from Kuala Lumpur to Cyberjaya- with hi-tech facilities and speedy broad-band wireless network connection. The MSC project was introduced with six flagship applications (MDC, 2014): 1) National Multi-Purpose Card; 2) Smart Schools; 3) Telehealth; 4) Research and Development Clusters; 4) Electronic Business and 4) Technopreneur Development.

This paper discusses the concept, roles and implementation prospects of e-government in local authorities. These issues are assessed against current international practices. Specifically, the objectives of this study are as follows:

* To study the implementation of e-government in Malaysia's local government and ;

* To determine the current implementation issues bedevilling e-government intervention in the local government system and identify policy interventions for a speedier implementation progress.

2. RESEARCH METHOD

An empirical investigation was conducted through 50 semi-structured interviews with the management of selected local authorities representing city halls (the largest of the local authorities), town councils (medium-sized) and district councils (smallest) across the country, related state and national agencies and the public, including businesses. These interviews were to assess the progress of implementation of e-government at this third tier of government.

These interviews were conducted confidentially on the basis that views expressed will not be attributable to a particular respondent. Notes were taken and transcribed immediately after the interview. Even though this procedure had the disadvantage of not being completely faithful to the exact words spoken by the respondents, it afforded a more relaxed environment for the interviewees to express their views (Walsham, 1995).

The research relied on secondary sources to supplement data gathered from the interviews to obtain an understanding of the implementation of e-government nationally and at the local level. Observational data, informal conversations and review of related documentation further supplemented the interviews. Following this process, findings were generated on the key implementation tasks for successful implementation of e-government in especially in local authorities. …

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