PADU and digital inclusivity

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, as evident by the rise in the percentage of computer and mobile phone ownerships by households and individuals 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%, while mobile (smart) phone is 99.3% and 96% 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%, followed by internet at 97.4% and computer at 80.2%.

Meanwhile, the internet coverage by strata shows above 80% in both urban (98.1%) and rural (89.1%) areas.

The Malaysian government recently launched the integrated system of central database hub (PADU) on Jan 2, 2024 in Putrajaya.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim highlighted the three objectives of PADU, with the first being 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 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 DOSM chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahiadin, as on Jan 5, 2024, it had received 612, 807 registrations nationwide.

Selangor currently recorded the highest number of PADU registrations (148,547), 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 are also experiencing some registration and update issues when it comes to PADU. People living in rural and remote areas of Sabah, Sarawak and other states have encountered digital accessibility issues.

In addition, some also face transportation issues to the nearest government agencies, digital economy centres (PEDi) and rural transformation centre (RTC) in order to successfully register and update their information on the 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.

To reach the highest number of registrations by March 31, 2024 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 time to complete this exercise. These people face the internet coverage and ICT device issues in their respected areas.

Likewise, the Jelajah (flying squad) team also need time to identify and fix issues related to PADU.

Secondly, the role of MPs and state assemblymen are also crucial to check the PADU registration and update processes of the people in their local constituencies. – Jan 12, 2024


Dr Sayed Mohammad Reza Yamani Sayed Umar is a Research Fellow at the Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies, Universiti Malaya.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: Bernama

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