Malaysia To Launch e-Procurement Telecenters Nationwide
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As part of Malaysia's RM270 million (US$71 million) e-government procurement project e-Perolehan, the Government will install a network of telecenters nationwide to target smaller sized suppliers, enabling them to trade online with all Government procurement centers.
e-Perolehan is one of the first and largest pilot applications under the e-government flagship applications of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
The telecenters facilitating the e-Perolehan project will help non-IT savvy suppliers perform online transactions such as submitting registration applications, providing catalog details or even getting connected to the Internet. Suppliers stand to save up to 50 percent in registration costs by using the system, according to Datuk Mohd Salleh Masduki, chief executive officer of project concession holder Commerce Dot Com (CDC).
He said the telecenters will be located in all state and district capitals, particularly near non-IT literate suppliers; these will most likely be housed in the offices of the Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry or in other relevant institutions.
"We hope to see some of these telecenters become operational by year's end," he said, adding that CDC will train telecenter operators to help the suppliers embark on e-commerce.
To date, about RM68 million (US$18 million) of the original RM270 million (US$71 million) set aside for e-Perolehan has been spent: RM55.5 million (US$14.6 million) on hardware and software, and the remainder on overheads.
Phase I of the project went 'live' in October 2000 in the form of a pilot with four Government departments and 5,000 registered suppliers. e-Perolehan is now in Phase II and work has started on analysis of user requirements.
At this stage, the e-procurement system is being tested with application modules such as direct purchase, request for quotation and request for tender. CDC expects the design, development, testing and implementation of e-Perolehan to be completed by end-January 2002.
"CDC will roll out the e-procurement system to 10 additional Government departments and other suppliers once the additional central contract item catalog is uploaded onto the Web site," Salleh said, adding that in the medium term, he would hope that e-Perolehan will be used in state governments, statutory bodies and other government-related entities to benefit from economies of scale.
According to him, the full e-procurement service will be rolled out nationwide under Phase III, which is scheduled for end-2002. "The ultimate aim is to increase domestic productivity and provide opportunities for exports," he said.
The long term goal for e-Perolehan is to replicate its implementation in other ASEAN, Commonwealth, G15 and G77 countries. "Many Middle Eastern and African countries have already expressed keen interest in Malaysia's first government-to-business (G2B) e-commerce service," Salleh said.
"We are currently in early stages of discussions to explore various ways of replicating the model to those interested countries. If this is achieved, we will be able to connect these e-procurement centers into exchanges to gain economies of scale and to create a greater opportunity for developing countries to prosper."