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Selangor working with AWS on Smart State Initiative
September 27, 2019 News


Cashless transactions are fast becoming the preferred method of transaction in many countries around the world. China currently dominates the cashless transaction industry with its 1.38 billion population quickly embracing cashless transactions. A big part of their success in implementing the system was the government’s push for a cashless society. Apart from that, China was able to reach their goals fast because there were only two companies providing e-wallets, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

While China, with a population of 1.38 billion, only uses two wallets, Malaysia, which has a population of around 32 million has 46 e-wallet service providers. Amazing isn’t it? And the number is expected to grow in the future. With so many e-wallet service providers in the market, consumers are having a difficult time picking the right option as every e-wallet has its unique offering.

The only way to solve this problem is to have a single platform that can integrate all the e-wallets. And Selangor, a state in Malaysia, has the answer for that.

Selangor aspires to be a dynamic, economically vibrant, culturally rich and caring smart state in close engagement with the citizens. It wants to be enabled by smart infrastructure, services, systems and people to strengthen the state’s vision to be a premier state in ASEAN by 2025.

The state has twelve smart initiatives in the pipeline, which are:

  • Smart Buildings
  • Smart Energy and Utility
  • Smart Healthcare and wellbeing
  • Smart Education
  • Smart Waste Management
  • Smart Transport and Mobility
  • Smart Safety and Security
  • Smart Water Management
  • Smart Food and Agro
  • Smart Digital Infrastructure
  • Smart Governance
  • Smart Disaster Management

According to Dr.Fahmi Ngah, Managing Director of MBI Selangor, which oversees the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit, the state adopted a new approach to technology. Working with AWS allowed the state to scale more, especially when it comes to making the most of the data the state collected. With AWS user management and data management services, the state was able to get insights which can be used to achieve the other initiatives set.

Part of this is seen with the establishment of CEpat, a payment platform in the state. The platform allows users to make a payment on all government services under one platform. This includes assessment bills, parking summons, and even applying for traders’ licence. The app can also be used to make payments on parking as it’s linked to the local councils’ database.

“We are putting all the payment modes in one platform. We are the first platform to integrate credit card, online banking, e-wallets and other digital payment channels all in one platform. We have 46 e-wallets in Malaysia, and all of them will eventually be connected onto the platform to give citizens a seamless experience in their cashless transactions. When we make the user experience easier, everyone will want to use the service.”

The platform which is available on both Android and IOS devices is due to launch in October. It will also be available over the web and payment kiosk machines. The uniqueness about CEpat is the database that connects to a user to all their accounts with just a single sign-in. This reduces the need to remember multiple usernames and passwords for various services.

Once a user has registered onto the platform, their identity is synced to all the government services that are registered in the state to their name. This includes assessment and council payments. Users will be notified whenever their payments are due, ensuring they make a payment on time and avoid penalties. Dr.Fahmi added that the system will eventually also like to other services in the state like water and utility bills.

Currently, each council in the state works in siloes. Whenever the state requires a report from them on revenue and other financial details, it takes a long time for the councils to process it. With this system, all the data is collected by the state instead of being collected in silo previously. The state will have more visibility on the transactions and use the data the make decisions in the future.

“We want to build the cashless ecosystem. The only way to do that is by looking at all the data collected. From there, we will be able to understand what our citizens really want, which areas require more actions and make our decisions. The state will be able to have visibility on this.”

In order to build a smart state, Dr. Fahmi explained it’s important to collect data from sensors through the app and also physical sensors on the ground. Selangor is already using AI to analyse most of its data. Once they have more data, they will have a clearer picture and a larger view on how they can grow and innovate the state.

With all these data moving around, Dr. Fahmi pointed out that cybersecurity is their utmost priority at the same time. They comply with all regulations as required by Bank Negara Malaysia and work with AWS on certificate management to ensure cybersecurity.

By 2022, the state is expected to see a few physical infrastructures that are going to cement Selangor into a smart state. Selangor wants to demonstrate data-driven policies, and by building a cashless economic system, they are heading in the right direction.