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Headlines : Reaching out to the e-c
- Subject: Headlines : Reaching out to the e-c
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 21:59:00
Subject: Headlines : Reaching out to the e-citizen
Reaching out to the e-citizen
A JOINT pilot project between Andersen Consulting and the Singapore government
which will eventually make most government services accessible to the
the Internet may be an outstanding showcase for other countries to consider if
they want to be in the international league in the 21st century.
When its ''e-citizen'' project is completed some time in the next couple of
years, Singapore citizens anywhere in the world can access most government
services without leaving their homes or offices.
''The government's objective is to offer better services by organising them
around the citizen. The one-stop e-citizen service brings the government to
citizen,'' said Yeo Guan Kai, an Andersen Consulting associate partner.
By offering these often-required services conveniently on the Internet, the
Singapore government is creating an environment where most of its citizens
be comfortable with the Internet as it grabs a firm foothold in the business
The graphic accompanying this story is the actual life journey map which
Singaporeans or anyone encounters when they dial into the
Currently, certain population segments are required to use the Websites to
access certain government services.
Since last year, high school graduates planning to enter junior college must
apply to 12 schools through the Internet. By clicking the map's education
high school graduates access electronic application forms to the 12 schools.
''In the past, they had to get the applications forms from each school and
either physically deliver or mail them,'' said Yeo.
In addition, students can access all their school records on line and transfer
them to the appropriate schools. They also pay their application fees
electronically via the Internet.
''The whole process is done on the Internet,'' Yeo said.
Soon Singaporeans wishing to purchase a government housing flat can merely
click the housing icon, and ascertain the available housing inventory. This
housing inventory site accesses another icon which will allow the citizen to
determine what funds he has in his central provident fund.
''He will then know how much he can afford to pay for his new home,'' Yeo
By clicking the ''family'' icon, Singaporeans getting married can process all
the necessary ''paperwork''. ''Birth certificates can all be accessed by the
Internet and a woman doesn't have to run around to get her name changed.
Everything can be done on the Internet,'' he said.
An employer or employee wishing to get work permits no longer has to fight
lines or send staff down to the immigration department for application forms.
By clicking the ''employ people'' icon, every regulatory requirement can be
accessed and filed electronically.
The Thai government undoubtedly would add thousands of hours of
the country's labour forces if these same services could be accessed through
Because Singapore is a wealthy country occupying a relatively small area, its
government has been able to build an infrastructure which can handle the
sophisticated software and databases necessary for such a massive project.
''Broad band lines capable of handling the fastest available modems now access
almost every single home,'' Yeo said.
The e-citizen project is an important element of the Singapore government's
efforts to ensure that its
citizenry stays ahead of the global curve in terms of accessing and using
advanced technology via the Internet.
Although most countries are initially banking on developing
business-to-business Internet as a critical plank for Internet growth,
Singapore has decided to capitalise on its small land mass and highly educated
citizenry by concurrently developing the individual's access to government
services via the Internet.
At the same time, Singapore businessmen are quickly riding on the back of the
government's hardware and software infrastructure by building new value-added
For instance, it wouldn't be a leap-of-faith to assume that the housing icon
will soon lead to other icons offering homes from private developers and
mortgages and loans from other financial institutions.
The transportation icon could lead to other additional icons which would offer
overseas tour packages offered by private operators. The retirement icon could
lead to all kinds of additional services offered by private industry.
Although the Thai government is nowhere as far along in using the Internet to
deliver more efficient government services, the Singapore government's joint
efforts with Andersen Consulting and the ultimate effect of their efforts on
the country's productivity are worthy of study and consideration.