Smart Gov & Public Services: Powering a Digital Nation


Barack Obama, The 44th President of the United States

According to the United Nations’ E-Government Survey 2020, digital government transformation should aim at promoting digital inclusion and ensuring that all people, including vulnerable groups, can access to improve their wellbeing. It should put people first and revolve around their needs.

At the beginning of 2021, the Malaysian government introduced the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) to enable the rakyat to embrace digitalisation to improve quality of life and standard of living.

“Advanced technology will be the transformation that covers a wide spectrum and affects ALL layers of society,” said Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia. 

However, as the nation is still embroiled in the fight against COVID-19, the government and service providers must also look ahead and be ready to embrace the post-pandemic world where the demand for public services will be different and much more digital than before.

Road to Building a Human-Centered Society
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In commemoration of Star Media Group’s 50th anniversary, the Smart Gov & Public Services Live Virtual Conference on 7 & 8 September is part of the group’s #digitalXdata Road to Malaysia 5.0 event series that is dedicated to enabling digitally-fuelled government and public services to accelerate growth in realising the common future vision of building a sustainable, inclusive, human-centered society, powered by disruptive technologies.

We invite you to join us and be part of the digital acceleration journey in designing society 5.0!

“Technologies and industry solutions play only a small ‘enabling’ portion of realising smart city outcomes.
At least 99% of the transformation work comes from disrupting traditional mindsets and bridging silos across organisational cultures, processes, governance structures, policies, regulations and expectations.”

IDC Asia/Pacific

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Day ONE Morning
Day TWO Morning

Day ONE Afternoon
Day TWO Afternoon

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The COVID-19 pandemic had profound effects on our public service delivery. These include the increased demands for services with rising citizen expectations on the delivery of virtual services, workforce planning, and the need to test the resilience of working virtually and disrupted sectors looking to the government to provide adaptive and dynamic regulatory models.

The government is expected to ramp up efforts on the digital transformation of public services to better serve the citizens during and as well as post-COVID-19 era. During this time, the citizens' expectation of the government is to play a critical role as the decision-maker, central responder, and service provider. Hence, it clearly shows that a digital government should take the lead role to drive the catalysts of digital transformation through (1) well-executed plans and governance, (2) to deliver more effective citizen services by adopting a data-driven strategy that harnesses data intelligence, (3) to digitise government services to ensure easy access and improved experience when citizens need it the most, (4) to invest in digital infrastructure and platforms to create a whole of government service capability and (5) to focus on smaller-scale innovations across the government to build a dispersed capability.

Current scenarios, challenges, and global trends require us to change how we provide services to the people so that public service institutions remain trusted and respected. We need to change and quickly adapt to current changes to stay relevant.

For most of our history, we lived in a “Stuff Economy” era where value, wealth, and power were mainly measured by physical possession. The past few decades represented the climax of the “Knowledge Economy” where the cognitive capabilities corresponded to value, power, and wealth more than any other time. It is the era where companies such as Google or Facebook, with relatively little physical possession, could rival behemoths such as General Electric in market value. We are now moving into the era of the “Purpose Economy” where the ability to connect with one’s self and others and exhibit self-awareness, respect, and empathy will be the sign of delivering true and unrivalled value. Stuff and knowledge will gain a huge value when they are underpinned by the right emotional content. This digital era of the 'never normal' will require that we rewrite our playbook in education, human resources management, marketing, engineering, and governance. It is the responsibility of the leaders among us to support our people, especially the youth to succeed and thrive in such a different environment. In this talk, Professor Al-Atabi will outline the concept of Purpose-Driven Leadership and how it is key for building a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future that highly integrates with technological innovations.

Cities across the globe are crowding. Today, more than half of the global population of over 4 bil people live in cities. In 2019, about 77% of Malaysia’s total population lived in urban areas and cities (Statista, October 2020).

The United Nations projects 68% of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050. This means, cities are risking even more to the ongoing economical, health, societal & economical challenges.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute (June 2018) found that technologies can improve the quality-of-life indicators by as much as 30% where public sector would be the natural owner of 70% of these digital services but, this requires dynamic public-private partnerships.

All the hype around 5G is REAL! 5G-powered IoT connectivity which is faster, more reliable & higher-capacity is key to make our cities smarter.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, 5G implementation would contribute up to RM12.7 bil to GDP between 2021 and 2025. It could create more than 39,000 new jobs with higher income, and almost 40% of these jobs would be available in 2025.

But, what lies ahead of smart cities and its potential in the hyper-uncertain post-pandemic situation?

Smart City Council Australia New Zealand Executive Director, Adam beck noted that there is definitely a risk that the smart city agenda may become polarising agenda if it is not tied to outcomes and priorities. He added, “But it is heartening that we are finding examples whereby technology and data is used to help build prosperity for our most vulnerable. If we are not creating value, change or impact for our most vulnerable, I don’t think it is going to be an agenda that is going to last.”

How can disruptive technologies make our cities better places to live?

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned mobility and transportation upside down. Countries across the world have implemented rigorous highly regulated measures in an effort to flatten the curve. According to Apple's report (February 2021), driving and walking trends in Malaysia have reduced to 23% and 39% respectively since 13 January 2020.

McKinsey is of the opinion that mobility next normal will feature changing consumer behaviors, new roles for regulators, hyperlocal mobility, new forms of cooperation, and a changing focus on innovation. ARK's research estimated that consumers who travel on autonomous ride-hailing platforms will pay less than half the cost of driving a personal car when they reach scale in 2024, or roughly one-tenth the cost of a taxi.

To realise the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in Malaysia, the ITS Blueprint (2019 - 2023) is powered by 4 strategic pillars; Seamless Intelligent Mobility, Congestion Free Infrastructure, Safety, and Commercial Vehicle Operation. And, the key enabler towards successful ITS development is the convergence of technologies; high-speed Internet, IoT, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and Big Data analytics from telcos, broadcasting, and multimedia sectors.

In Australia, the New South Wales (NSW) government is currently delivering the nation’s largest transport infrastructure programme. To realise this delivery, Transport for NSW is working toward an ambitious vision to be a global leader in the use of innovative and transformative technologies and will deliver six priority programs over the next three years to enable convenient, personalised and sustainable transport and mobility solutions for its customers.

Technology is continuously evolving; advanced tools are being created to increase productivity and growth. Superfast broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity are essential enablers for productivity improvement. COVID-19 has shifted the focus towards digitalised processes, resilient delivery, and anywhere operations. This is where organisations will be leveraging public distributed cloud and distributed services that interact directly with edge services (IoT). IoT is going to increase productivity, reduce cost and improve our lives with several use cases related to facilities, operations & management, security, and healthcare, etc. Technologies like Machine learning (ML)/ Artificial Intelligence (AI) can augment the information with new insights with the help of analytics. Fundamental to all this is robust, high speed, self-healing, and automated underlying infrastructure.

"For the citizens of a smart city to thrive, we must first place education at its centre," Dr. I-Chang Tsai, Vice President and Director General of Digital Education, Institute for Information Industry in Taiwan.

According to UNICEF (March 2021), around 214 mil children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Digital tools can be game-changers. UNICEF aims to reach 500 mil children & youth, and 3.5 bil by 2030 under its revolutionary Reimagine Education initiative to provide quality education for every child through digital learning, Internet connectivity, devices, affordable data and the engagement of young people.

Resources assistance for the education system play a notable part in how well schools are transformed and how the leaders of tomorrow are nurtured, through the delivery of effective teaching and learning. A whopping RM64.8 bil was allocated for education in the Malaysia Budget 2021 with RM50.4 bil to the Education Ministry, and RM14.4 to the Higher Education Ministry. Recently in February, FELDA allotted RM2.98 mil to set up the Smart Classroom system at 101 national secondary schools.

However, with all the fundings, bridging digital divide remains a key priority in accelerating digital learning in Malaysia. Among the initiatives under MyDIGITAL, the “My Device” programme, setup through public-private-people partnerships, will enable all Malaysian students to have access to devices, through various mechanisms, depending on their household income levels. And, it is targeted for ALL schools to adopt digital solutions and technology in the delivery of education by 2025.

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation underway in Southeast Asia, including in the criminal world. Transnational and cross-border crime threats have moved online, and data breaches have disrupted industries and critical infrastructures. UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) is assisting the region to understand these challenges while building resilience.

Learn what it takes to reinvent data management strategies that help strengthen your digital to core, and accelerate adoption towards strengthening government resilience. This session will bring you valuable insights that solves mass data fragmentation and embrace deference-in-depth modernisation. Experience how Cohesity spans protection, recovery, cloud integration, automation and management, all from a single pane of glass limitless horizontal scale-out, on a Next-Gen Data Management platform, including use cases such as:
• Modern Data Protection.
• Comprehensive Ransomware Recovery: including Anomaly Detection and Automated Recovery.
• File Share & Object Service.
• Cloud: Native Hybrid and Multi-cloud Integration.
• Data Governance & Compliance.
• Dev & Test Management.
• Data Insight & Analytics.
• Automated Recovery to Cloud.

Maintaining readiness during the pandemic lockdown is a challenge for the military due the nature of its work. The Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police have deployed micro and small-class unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to support the enforcement of the movement control order.

According to the Ministry of Defence, Malaysia experienced over 50 natural disasters in the last decade, with over 3 mil people affected & close to 300 deaths. Floods alone caused approximately RM5.82 bil in damages.

Road safety is a very serious safety concern. According to a report produced the U.S. Department of State, Malaysia averages approximately 19 traffic fatalities a day, and the undisciplined motorcyclists are the principal cause of traffic accidents for nearly 62% of all traffic fatalities.

Malaysia is also commonly exposed to threats of terrorism and extremism. Between Feb 2013 and Sep 2019, over 500 individuals were detained with suspected links to terrorism and these detainees were linked to Abu Sayyaf groups with suspicions of planned attacks, as well as channelling funds to Malaysian Daesh in Syria and the Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) in Indonesia. This reflects the transboundary nature of the threat.

“It is suggested that the Malaysian government also look into enhancing cross-border intelligence sharing and surveillance to identify and close any potential illegal routes. Advanced technologies such as drones, state-of-the-art scanners and CCTV systems could also be deployed at suspected entry points,” Lt. Kol. Dr. Maimunah Omar, Assistant Director, Contemporary Security Centre, Ministry of Defence (Malaysia).

Over at the cyberspace, cyberthreats have continued to grow rapidly at a global scale. According to an IBM report, the average total cost of a data breach incident in 2020 is $3.86 mil, and the average time to identify and contain a breach takes 280 days.

As of Oct 2020, CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) had received 9,042 reports of cyber incidents, a 3.1% increase compared to 2019. The highest incidents reported were fraud, intrusion and malicious code. The Royal Malaysia Police dealt with 11,875 cybercrime cases in 2019 with an estimated loss of RM500 mil.

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely accelerated the transformation of the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII), which were previously powered by analogue technology, and are now fully digital and Internet dependent. However, the advancement technologies continue to pose threats to the CNII sectors; National Defence & Security, Health Services, Emergency Services, Banking and Finance, Government, etc.

As pointed out by the CEO of CSM, Datuk Dr. Amiruddin Abdul Wahab, the advancement of technology is a double-edged sword, as more online platforms means more avenues of attack for criminals.

The WHO's Global Strategy on Digital Health (2020 - 2025) highlights that digital health should be an integral part of health priorities and benefit people in a way that is ethical, safe, secure, reliable, equitable and sustainable. It should be developed with principles of transparency, accessibility, scalability, replicability, interoperability, privacy, security & confidentiality.

COVID-19 has definitely stirred digital acceleration in healthcare. WHO launched the SMART Guidelines in February 2021 to help countries to more efficiently & accurately adopt, & benefit from, WHO's health & data recommendations through digital systems.

There are an abundance of benefits in healthcare innovations. However, as digital health becomes more prevalent, disparities in digital literacy and access to equipment, broadband and the Internet will only become more important. It requires system-level thinking and coherent national strategy that comprises effective legislation, regulations and oversight.

In today’s “work from anywhere” situation, businesses are expediting their move towards digital adoption. Business continuity and agility are at the top of every strategic discussion.

Many companies were unprepared to quickly and effectively adapt to the new normal, exposing fundamental gaps in their business resilience. Becoming digitally resilient requires rapidly adapting to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities and making changes in work and customer-orientation.

And, all of this must be underwritten by enterprise-grade security and risk principles. Whether you are in a highly regulated industry like banking, government or education, or looking to respond to the government’s smart nation initiative in a risk-averse way, data residency should also be at the heart of your innovation investment decisions.

Take a deep dive into how Adobe can help businesses accelerate their digital document productivity and capabilities through Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Sign.

Technology is not the most difficult aspect in the process of digital transformation, the mindset is always the bottleneck. In this era of relentless hyper-change and complexity, it is fundamental for public sectors to embody new ways of achieving results by optimising technology adoption and practicing agility where success is reliant on the courage to experiment & adjust.

Now more than ever, leaders in the public sectors need to better connect and exert influence in making the most out of everyone's abilities. Collaborative leadership is key in this age than the usual command-and-control tactic.

Many organisations do not have a sense of clarity of its two to 10-year plan because they are uncertain about what the post-COVID work and economy will be like. “If Malaysia continues to be a follower in the tech space instead of a leader, Malaysia will be a mediocre country with competitors outpacing it,” Samuel Kim, President & Co-Founder of the Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives (CALI).

According to CALI, futurist-thinking is about presenting plausible alternatives in a way that helps people take actions now. Three simple steps to become a futurist leader include focus on plausible scenarios, be transparent and be empathetic.

Leadership in the public sectors plays a crucial role to accelerate growth in designing society 5.0. ACKNOWLEDGING the world is shifting and CHOOSING to be on the front foot with the RIGHT mindset is the way forward.

Adobe SEA
Auckland University of Technology
Beaconhouse Malaysia
Center for Asia Leadership
City of Perth
Cohesity ASEAN
Cohesity Malaysia
GovTech Singapore
Green Packet
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Prime Minister's Department
Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT)
Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security (MiDAS), Ministry of Defence
McKinsey & Company
National University of Singapore
National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA), National Security Council
Star Media Group
Taipei Smart City Project Management Office, Taipei Computer Association & Global Organization of Smart Cities (GO SMART)
Transport for NSW
U.S. Department of Justice
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Vision Foresight Strategy
World Health Organization
Event Details
Exabyte Partner
Terabyte Partners
Gigabyte Partner
Knowledge Partners
Center for Asia Leadership
McKinsey & Company
United Nations
Supported by
Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU)
Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT)
National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA)
Mobile Messaging Partner
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