Thursday, June 18, 2009

the Internet 247 .....

Internet is part and parcel of most people’s lives now. Being online and connected 247 is a very big deal to a lot of people. Loss of internet connection is treated the same way as loss of water or electricity supply. More and more ways to stay in contact with family and friends are available. E-mails, internet messengers, Facebook, Windows Space, Twitter to name a few.

As in all things in this world, internet has its positives and negatives. Focussing on the positives, advancement in the internet means we now can get real time news. A good example was a few days ago there was some disturbances at the Malaysian Parliament. Faster than TV news can do it, we can read real time hot from the oven reports direct from the Parliament. Guess who the reporters were? The members of parliament themselves through the Twitter service.

Not just through the computers, we now have access through our mobile phones. Even the not so smart models come with internet access as a standard. Facebook users, twitter subscribers and even the MSN users can now use their mobile phones and update their status, made comments and the most useless of all ... poked their friends. If we observe carefully people around us, we can see more than 50% will be holding and staring at their mobile phones. More and more of these people are actually accessing the internet. Some even take their phones everywhere ... I know a few who updates their status while doing their business in the toilet. Lucky for us, internet so far only comes with sight and sound effect. Imagine if it comes with smell effect!

One aspect of the internet world is E-Govt. Everyone has heard of e-govt and many understands it provides access to government services online, from the comfort of our homes or offices, in fact from anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We in Brunei are also not left behind on this development. Recently, we had the e-govt expo at the Mall. Admittedly I did not go to see it. Not so much for lack of interest, but more because of the hassle of finding a parking spot which is almost impossible in the area at weekends. How I wish I could have parked online and go on a cyber tour of the exhibition.

Today I came across a very interesting speech from a Senior Minister of our neighbour. He is of the opinion good governance is the foundation for successful e-government which in turn enables us to improve the effectiveness of Government. He stated three features of good governance that are critical to successful e-Government: Transparency, Accountability and Incorruptibility; Continuous Regulatory Review and Working together as One Government. You can read the full text here.

What is interesting in the text is the focus on good governance. I am no expert, but from what I know good governance is basically conducting public affairs, managing public resources in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law. Participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law are among the characteristics of good governance. Based on this, may be, as we go down the e-govt road, we as a country will improve in this aspect. It is well known some procedures are convoluted and confusing. Even the “Ease of Doing Business Report 2009” painted a not too good picture. Ranked 88 out of 181 economies.

Well there is always hope. We must always have hope. May be, just maybe, the current e-govt initiatives will bring about positive changes, making our processes and procedures less complicated, more straight forward and most importantly not open to abuse.

With access from anywhere to government services online and other services from private providers locally and internationally 247, we will be a truly well connected people.... even beyond the imagination of the “connecting people“ at Nokia.............

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