Going online can help avoid backlog due to long queues caused by social distancing, say stakeholders

The article “Going online can help avoid backlog due to long queues caused by social distancing, say stakeholders” was published by Hakem Hassan at The Sun Daily

PETALING JAYA: There are growing calls for government departments to introduce more online services due to long queues caused by social distancing requirements and shortened working hours.

Stakeholders say this has often caused a backlog of many of the services that are only available at government departments.

The huge backlog results in delays in commercial transactions by members of the public as well as the private sector.

Efforts have been made to digitalise some services like renewal of driving licences and road tax, but more needs to be done if government departments are to progress with the times.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) and Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) told theSun that it would be far more beneficial for services to go online due to the pandemic.

“Although some things can now be done online, there is no harm in improving these services for the public,” said CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader.

He suggested that although dependency on physical counter services can be reduced, it should not be abandoned entirely and must be continuously improved as well.

This is due to the fact that many members of the public, especially senior citizens, may not be as tech savvy and still prefer to do things in person, he said.

Last Friday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong urged the Road Transport Department to improve the quality of its counter services for the convenience of the public.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Wee said he had received various suggestions and feedback from the public, including adding more mobile counters for customers’ convenience.

Fomca chief executive officer Saravanan Thambirajah said counter services at government departments are often congested and give rise to stress.

“Improving online services is vital as more consumers are moving to digital platforms to save time and money on travel, helping to minimise the spread of Covid-19.”

He said consumer shopping habits have changed drastically over the last few years thanks to the explosion of e-commerce, and this is fuelling the need for digital transformation.

“To meet the demand, government agencies need to reevaluate their digital offerings,” added Saravanan.

IT specialist Fong Choong Fook said online services are important as urban populations are more adept at online services.

“A shift to digitalisation will ultimately be better for the public as shown by the high penetration rate of mobile users in the country and in combination with electronic know your customer (EKYC) technologies.”

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