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PADU and digital inclusivity

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PADU is on its way to reaching one million registrations soon. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez - Unsplash.

By: Dr. Sayed Mohammad Reza Yamani Sayed Umar

The ownership of ICT devices such as mobile (smart) phone and computer (personal computer, laptop and tablet) is rapidly increasing in Malaysia. The post pandemic era of Covid-19 has brought some positive effects of pandemic in the area of digital technology. We could see the percentage of computer and mobile phone ownership by household and individual in Malaysia. According to The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) report on ICT Access and Use 2022, the access of computer by household in Malaysia is around 91.3 percent, while mobile (smart) phone is 99.3 percent, is likewise 96 percent for internet including fixed-wired broadband and mobile broadband. Moreover, this report also highlights the usage of computer, mobile (smart) phone and internet by individual in Malaysia. It is shown that mobile phone is the highest usage at 99.1 percent, followed by internet at 97.4 percent and computer at 80.2 percent. The internet coverage by strata shows above 80 percent in both urban (98.1 percent) and rural (89.1 percent) areas.

Dr. Sayed Mohammad Reza Yamani Sayed Umar

Recently, the government of Malaysia launched the integrated system of central database hub (PADU) on 2 January 2024 in Putrajaya. This database hub was initiated by the current MADANI unity government. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, highlighted the three objectives of PADU. The first objective is to provide national database hub with safety, security, comprehensive and ‘near real time’ for the accuracy process of digitalisation and data analytics. Secondly, to draft future national policies in which the government decision comprehends any decision according to PADU. Thirdly, to accommodate the government policy implementation that is given to targeted groups of societies with regards to socioeconomic benefits and fiscal outlook. Personal profile and data of Malaysian and permanent residence above 18 years old and their household members are safely and securely ensured by the CyberSecurity Malaysia.

This newly launched central database hub (PADU) is on its way to reaching one million registrations by this weekend. Looking into the response and enthusiasm so far, the number of registrations will be hitting one and half millions by next weekend. According to Department of Statistics Malaysia chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahiadin, as Friday, 5 January 2024, it had received 612, 807 registrations nationwide. Selangor is currently recorded the highest number of registrations (148,547) and followed by Johor (66,036), Perak (55,865), the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (44,359) and Sabah (41,482). The trend of high number of registrations hopefully addresses in other states as well. We could see the process of digital inclusion is gradually narrowing the digital gap between Peninsular and Eastern Malaysia states.  

However, people also experience some issues of registration and updates in central database hub (PADU). People live in rural and remote areas of Sabah, Sarawak and other states come across digital accessibility issues. In addition to that, some of rural and remote people encounter transportation issues to the nearest government agencies, digital economy centres (PEDi) and rural transformation centre (RTC) in order to successfully register and update their PADU individual and household database. For instance, a person from Song district in Sarawak need to take a Rajang river boat to either to Pekan Kapit PEDi or to Pekan Kanowit PEDi as Song PEDi district is not active at the moment.

In reaching the highest number of registrations by 31 March 2024 or within 2 months. Perhaps, the government might consider two conditions. Firstly, the extension date of registration and updates should be given as the people in rural/ remote areas need ample times to do the process. These people face the internet coverage and ICT devices issues in their respected areas. Likewise, the Jelajah (flying squad) team also need time to identify those loopholes affected areas. Secondly, the role of Member of Parliaments (Ahli Parlimen) and Local Assemblies (Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri) are absolutely needed to visit and check PADU registration and update process in their local constituencies.

We, the rakyat, definitely support this central database hub (PADU) for the betterment of our beloved nation.

The author is a Research Fellow at the Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies, Universiti Malaya.

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