The mobile government can be a powerful component of e-Government to facilitate the delivery of more and better services to citizens. Definitely, Malaysia government should pay attention to the new technologies and their impact on government agencies and citizens, and face up to the challenges and opportunities it offers. We should also be attentive that the important benefits come from an alignment of organizational change and process reengineering with these mobile technologies .in this paper we investigate the challenges faced m-Government implementation in Malaysia and also discuss the opportunities of using mobile technology in Malaysia’s e-Government services.
Keywords- m-Government ; e-Government;services ; mobile technology
M-Government stands for the use of mobile wireless communication technology within the government administration and in its delivery of services and information to citizens and business . By connecting a wireless part to a wired end part (see Figure 1), the m-Government will create and guarantee mobility and portability for the public, firms, and government. Furthermore, convenience in accessing information, real time access to information, and personalization of information access are guaranteed to maximize benefits of using information and in turn create further advanced e-Government services .
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Mobile government implementation is still in its very early stages – indeed a perfect m-Government has not been produced yet. Transitioning from e-Government to m-Government requires researching the integration process between e-Government and m-Government. It also requires investigation of all the pressures that might affect the transition process. Such pressures differ between nations, such as a nation’s technological and information infrastructure, mobile device penetration and acceptance, public and social pressured security and privacy .
Figure 1: m-Government life cycle
mobile government services
The e-Government initiatives have failed to live up to expectations of citizens, mobile government initiatives can rebuilt trust through faster interaction with the citizens and more effective and efficient service delivery. The stable interaction and managed fluid organization with great potential for enhanced hierarchy and vertical integration can provide a suitable underpinning for mobile government initiatives . M-Government offers a new level of immediacy, effectiveness, and convenience in the type of service delivery. Mobile communications is fast becoming an accepted part of mainstream society.It provides a dynamic means for citizens, particularly younger citizens to interact with local authorities and other government providing location based services(see Figure 2) In places with lower levels of Internet or PC access, mobile access is a cost effective way to deliver government information and services. In Japan where space for home computers can be limited, most citizens under 30 consider their mobile phone to be their primary Internet-access device .
Figure 2: m-Government services delivery architecture
M-government can be applied to four main purposes in the public sector .
M-Communication: improving communication between government and citizens (G2C, C2G). Providing information to the public is not a trivial activity. It is the foundation of citizen empowerment. Without relevant information citizens are unable to form intelligent opinions and, thereby, are unable to act on the issues before them meaningfully.
M-Services: m-Transactions and m-Payments. Mobile devices provide a channel of communication between citizens and government; also enable government-to-citizen (G2C) transactions.
M-Democracy: m-Voting and the use of mobile devices for citizen input to political decision making is an m-Government application with great potential to enhance democratic participation.
M-Administration: Improving Internal Public Sector Operations.
M-government initiative in Malaysia
In 2007, the government of Malaysia launched a new initiative under the electronic government program known as eKL. It is an effort to integrate services delivery across agencies in an effective and efficient manner to benefit citizen and businesses within the klang valley and its vicinity.
The eKL initiative centered on the “one government, many agencies” principle is to realize a digitally connected Klang Valley whereby services of all government agencies are linked. This joint-up approach enables the sharing of resources and information among government agencies and thereby facilitates the provision of end-to-end interactive online services 24-365 via multiple services channels. One of these channels is mobile device. The short messaging system (SMS) mobile technology enable citizen on the move to stay connected to government news and services. It is new channel for citizen to access government services.
MySMS aims at standardizing the usage of one single number, 15888, for accessing government news and services such as summon due for payment, and renewal of driving licenses. By 2010, there will be 158 additional SMS services for 50 agencies including payment services offered by mySMS.
m- Government implementation challenge in Malaysia
The high penetration of mobile devices in Malaysia will put pressure on m-Government implementations. The users will want to have government services (those which are appropriate for mobile technologies) to be delivered and accessible anywhere and anytime. This will lead to m-Government activities reaching a larger base in a more convenient manner .
In Malaysia, we need to investigate the potential needs of users in m-Government services. And the need to describe the effects that lead to the integration of services provided to users to meet their needs. In empirical research, we must examine different groups of people with required to the changes in needs and practices in the available technologies. However, the introduction of new technologies, systems, leads to the emergence of new practices and, consequently new requirements for more technology support. Also in the use of mobile technologies on a variety of practices, there is a little evidence on the convergence of practices in which ‘one size fits all ‘services are likely to meet the expanding needs of the citizens. (the evolution and diversity of the nature of using mobile technology and the design of M-government services to support the current practice is short-sighted and likely to lead to rapid obsolescence.) An Evolutionary approach where a small group of high-value services that can be obtained from a group of technologies developed over time, are likely to be more successful.
Mobile and wireless communications, by the year 2020, is expected to play a central role in all aspects of Malaysian citizens’ lives. The technology will substantially expand on the current concept of “anywhere, anytime” to a new paradigm summarized in the following; “Transform administrative process and service delivery through the use of Information Communication Technology and multimedia to improve the quality of Malaysians’ life by making the services available anytime anywhere and access to government content and information in more efficient and convenient way” This statement demands that the starting point of the design of future systems and services should be consideration of a person’s basic needs and interests. This basic needs and interest involves comfort and welfare spanning one’s personal, family, professional and private life. The technology should be all about improving the quality of life in terms of; wealth creation, improving education, improving job skills, enhancing health, security and safety and stipulating appropriate entertainment at the right time with appropriate content in a secure and reliable way .
Exploratory research on m-government services in Malaysia
M-Government is a new area of research, there are very few fulfilled studies so exploratory research is a Legitimate methodology .
Due to the fact that m-Government is an emerging discipline, in our research we combine one or more research methods in the study. Where no appropriate theory can be found as a basis for research, we undertake exploratory research . This involves open-ended study, unguided by theory and intended to provide a new body of empirical knowledge from which theories might be able to be postulated. In order to validate our assumptions, we refer to triangulation with distinct methods for cross-validation on comparable data.
Quantitative research : questionnaire
for a pilot testing of questionnaire study begins by examining to what extent are Malaysia citizens aware of and already using mobile government services
A total of 60 citizens responded to the questionnaire survey and 5 were invalid due to incomplete data. The data analyzed, using SPSS, were from 55 respondents.
The demographic distribution shows that 45.2 percent of the respondents were male and the remaining 54.8 percent were female. With respect to age, most of the respondents (70.0 percent) were between 19 to 30 years. This age group has potential to become users of mobile government because of its familiarity with the latest mobile technologies. With regards to educational attainment, 3.2 percent had primary and secondary education, 24.3 percent were diploma holders, 40.9 percent had Undergraduate degrees and 31.6 percent had postgraduate degrees.
57.4% of citizens didn’t have any experience in using m-Government services
45.6 % – didn’t know about m-Government
88.6% – think that they can utilize the use of m Government services
70.5% – think that m-Government services have the better impact on the quality of delivery than the traditional e- government
69.9- If they were given a choice to choose between the e government and m-Government to get services from the government services, the prefer m-Government
Qualitative research: focus groups
In the action research project, five focus groups were arranged, where the participants either used mobile government services or not. When we gathered persons to our focus groups age was the main factor of selection. We decided to have every group with five university students. Main reasons for gathering young persons and IT student were that they represent an important target group of the m- Government portal and that they possibly would have their own opinions about mobile services in close memory or in near future. Each group was led by one moderator. The main assignment was to discuss the present E government portal regarding information, e-services and user interface. The assumed outcome was thoughts about information structure and presentation. Public e-services were discussed in general and the e-service. 2 of 5 group’s postgraduate university students had use e-Government services which was a conscious choice since Morgan  argues that the participants’ background should be as homogenous as possible. The focus groups were introduced by the moderator who presented the m-Government services, the e-Government services field in general, and the purpose of the focus group meeting. He also described the process of using m-Government services in order everybody to better understand how a web-portal might be used in these cases. After this background and introduction a brainstorming activity was performed, in the next phase of each meeting the participants were asked questions in order to discuss information and mobile-services on the future portal, regarding for example search alternatives and service content. Two main scenarios were used in each discussion; a citizen who already used mobile services and a citizen who not used. The results from this discussion were then prioritized by the participants regarding the importance of the proposed m-Government service. This part of the data collection was made by answering a questionnaire where the importance was ranged. Examples of mentioned m-Government -services;
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The next phase of the each focus group meeting implied a discussion of how mobile government concepts were understood by the participants. Discussed concepts were those which could possibly be misunderstood by citizens using a portal because of their technical nature. Examples of discussed concepts are; Quality of Mobile service, Efficient Transactions, Strategic Data, Acceptance, Value for money, other question to get user requirements
The result showed that most of these concepts were hard to understand and the definitions proposed by the participants were more or less incorrect. The meetings were concluded by evaluation of the e-Government portal. The participants were asked to focus on information content, information presentation, structure, search alternatives, and navigation logic. The discussions resulted in many comments on the possible to perform in the portal. An important suggestion to improve the use of the portal was to add an personalized m-service called “m-Government “, where the citizen could login and find all information regarding his or her services want using his/her mobile device .
As described above the meetings consisted of three phases; an introduction, a prioritization of the importance of discussed information and m-Government services, a conceptual discussion,. All together these phases generated a sufficient set of information that was considered as essential for the future direction of the development project. Some findings showed that the m-Government project must build right assumptions regarding the citizen requirements, while other findings from the focus groups came to motivate the project. Common aspects of these findings were that they represented the attitudes of young persons. who has lived his or her entire teenager life as a frequent user of Internet, chatting with friends, using the mobile telephone not only for talking but also for navigate internet and taking photos, sending SMS, and listening to music have certain expectations regarding a government agency’s mobile web portal. Their high experiences in these kinds of communication media enable them to take some issues for granted. Therefore, they request and prioritize other functions than a more inexperienced user might do. Some participants did for example mention that they are used to do everything on mobile and that they become irritated when some issues are impossible to handle through this device. All participants also had very high expectations about what this kind of portal would contain, even when the moderators were asking about a minimum level. Focus groups have in this empirical case been a method for creating discussion and highlighting different opinions. The atmosphere in the each group must be tolerating and everyone has to be allowed to participate in the discussions. The composition of the group is, thus, important. Morgan  states that there should be some common characteristics of participants or the participants might have relation to each other prior to the meeting. This might make the discussion climate open-minded and allowing. Focus group, as we have used the method, is closest to consultative user participation.
Discussions and recommendations
Challenges to m-Government are considered as related to interoperability (roaming, variety of platforms); usability (mobile devices limitations); privacy protection, and user trust. To sum up, m-Government is inevitable and growing fast. Therefore, the parties involved must adapt to the new reality in order to have responsive public organizations and an “able society” that can benefit from advance of technology.
Undoubtedly, local government should pay attention to the new technologies and their impact on organizations, and face up to the challenges and opportunities it offers. We should also be aware that the essential benefits come from an alignment of organizational change and process re-engineering with these mobile technologies. In being mobile, and we should think beyond the potential of the mobile technology alone, rather we should think more about the meaning of m-Government as a reshaping of government itself and what the distinct fluid . Despite its infancy, m-Government is a growing and important set of complex strategies and tools that will change completely the roles and functioning of traditional governance . In advocating the existence and importance of m-Government, there are two basic facts to be considered: a) There are more people who do not have access to PCs than there are people who do not have a cell phone or other wireless device, which will make government and services available more to mobile customers as a group than to PC users, even as m-Government is considered a subset of e-Government, and b) Computers generally do not travel with citizens, but information and public services can: m-Government provides for instant availability of services and information, helping frequent travelers and people on the move to access government. When travelling overseas, citizens will not have to rely on unsafe internet cafes, as mobile coverage exists in vast majority of countries globally. m-Government also means that a citizen does not have to go and search for kiosks, or even get a connection to the house. People now carry a m-Government access terminal with them wherever they go .
According to Nikolaos and Karadimas (2007) Success of m-Government requires active engagement by both government and its citizens and that providing services is only one aspect of the m-Government equation. Another, and more challenging aspect, is achieving acceptance and widespread persistent use of m-Government by citizens. The acceptance of m-Government services can be achieved with their proper design and implementation. Services should be delivered in ways already familiar and actively adopted by users. In addition, the mobile phone is perfect device for rapid and brief interaction. Hence, content should be short, targeted and relevant to specific users. Another significant parameter that should be taken into account while designing m-Government services is security. Applications that require security must make minimal demands on the user.
M-Government implementation is still in its very early stages indeed a perfect m-Government has not been created yet. Transitioning from e-Government to m-Government requires researching the integration process between e-Government and m-Government. It also requires investigation of all the pressures that affect the transition process. Such pressures differ between nations, nation’s technological and infrastructure, mobile device penetration and acceptance, public and social forces , and security .
It is a fact that m-Government is still in its infancy and relatively alien to Malaysians. Hence, there is a possibility that m-Government remains unknown to and underutilized by Malaysian citizens. We need to understand the extent of acceptance of m-Government by citizens and examine the factors affecting intentions to use it for services transactions.
And one of the most important future works is to contribute a better understanding of different mechanisms promoting and inhibiting the diffusion of advanced mobile services by e-Government. And identify some critical factors leading to a slow diffusion of advanced mobile services in Malaysia.
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