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As a Malaysian, visiting family in Malaysia throughout holidays or festivals is a good factor. Annually, we sit down and contemplate which holidays current the very best alternatives for journey and gathering.

Suffice to say, if there is a lengthy weekend within the offing, you’ve got in all probability already packed. Nonetheless, on multiple event, I’ve come to appreciate one thing distinctive about touring inside Malaysia.

In Singapore, we have now playing cards for every part: there are EZ-Hyperlink playing cards for transportation, NETS playing cards for retail funds, and money playing cards for parking funds and digital fare crossing (ERP) gantries.

However in Malaysia, there may be one card to rule all of them: my ID card, often known as MyKad. This card is used all over the place: at toll plazas to pay tolls, in parking heaps to pay for parking, and even in retail shops to pay for purchases like bubble tea.

In comparison with the pink IC, Malaysia’s MyKad seems like an excellent card. As an alternative of carrying round a card with poor performance, Malaysians get a card that we virtually definitely cannot go away the home with out.

So why would not Singapore have a card that matches that performance?

Singapore will not be far behind; we simply have a unique medium

Because it seems, asking why Singapore would not have one card that does every part stands out as the fallacious query to start with. In any case, each Singapore and Malaysia want a method for the combination of their authorities know-how.

However whereas Malaysia has chosen to extend the performance of MyKad, Singapore has opted for the smartphone because the medium of alternative.

In Singapore, the Singpass app in all probability helped us greater than we thought. Firstly of the COVID-19 pandemic, we used the Singpass app to log into SafeEntry for contact tracing, till the TraceTogether app was developed.

Singpass SafeEntry check-in / Picture Credit score: The Wacky Duo

Working adults may even acknowledge that Singpass basically shops our private info and shares it with any authorities web site we enable. Paying your taxes every April can be far more of an issue if Singpass would not robotically fill in your info for you.

Additionally, bodily playing cards in Singapore will likely be even much less obligatory as all our playing cards will likely be digitized and positioned within the Singpass app.

The smartphone, because the medium for the Singpass app, has turn into a platform by way of which the federal government reaches out to Singaporeans.

When evaluating the diploma of smartphone penetration, the explanations for the totally different approaches begin to make extra sense. Solely 71 p.c of Malaysians personal smartphones, whereas greater than 90 p.c of Singaporeans do.

As a ubiquitous piece of know-how in Singapore, it is smart for Singapore to make use of the smartphone as a candidate for Singaporeans to achieve entry to authorities companies and know-how.

Against this, as a result of smartphones are much less ubiquitous in Malaysia, having a smartphone perform as the one means of presidency know-how makes a lot much less sense.

Completely different issues have totally different options.

We should additionally perceive that Singapore and Malaysia are two very totally different international locations. As a small nation with strict controls on the automobile inhabitants in Singapore, not everybody will want a money card to pay tolls or automobile parking.

Quite the opposite, anybody staying in Malaysia will shortly notice that non-public transport similar to vehicles might be probably the most handy and dependable solution to get round. The nation is so enormous that with out a automotive it will likely be extraordinarily tough to get wherever.

The truth is, there are extra autos than folks in Malaysia, with 33.3 million registered autos for a inhabitants of 32.6 million.

As such, virtually anybody in Malaysia must pay for street tolls and parking with a Contact’n Go (TnG) card. So why not make one card do all of it and lengthen it to retail funds as properly?

Touch'n Go cards are used to pay for the use of toll roads, among many other things
Contact’n Go playing cards are used to pay for using toll roads, amongst many different issues / Picture Credit score: SoyaCincau

Think about the choice of getting to make use of a telephone to pay tolls and parking. This might in all probability imply scanning a code each time it is advisable to use a toll street or park your automotive, and it might hardly be well worth the problem.

The playing cards already do a superb job as they’re, so why change a profitable system? Because of this Malaysia would discover it a tough and sure unsuccessful course of to desert playing cards as a foundation for its authorities know-how integration.

It isn’t about smartphones versus playing cards, it is about smartphones and playing cards

Clearly, dwelling in Singapore and dwelling in Malaysia require various things, and the totally different media on which authorities know-how relies demonstrates this.

However these should not applied sciences that ought to be aggressive. As an alternative, they’re applied sciences that may and ought to be utilized in tandem.

The Malaysian system works as a result of it permits one card for use for a number of functions and turns that card into one thing that almost all Malaysians will want every day.

However, Singaporeans have so many alternative playing cards for various funds. We use EZ-Hyperlink playing cards for public transportation, NETS for funds, in addition to money playing cards for ERP and parking funds. So as to add, we have now different playing cards like NRIC and driver’s license for identification functions.

It is usually not the case that Malaysia doesn’t use smartphones as the premise for its authorities know-how. Whereas TnG playing cards are primarily used as money playing cards, TnG has additionally developed an app known as TnG eWallet.

TnG electronic wallet
TnG E-Pockets / Picture Credit score: Medium

Along with with the ability to prime up the TnG card, the TnG eWallet can be used to facilitate retail funds and peer-to-peer transactions, similar to PayNow and PayLah! I work in Singapore.

There’s definitely one thing to be realized from the Malaysian system as they’ve created one thing a lot much less cumbersome and unifying our playing cards and rising their performance could possibly be a superb begin.

Think about with the ability to use your NRIC to pay for public transportation, parking, and F&B. Would we proceed to ridicule our playing cards as ineffective or a waste of house? In all probability not.

Funds in Singapore are principally unified beneath the SGQR system, one other occasion of Singapore specializing in smartphones somewhat than playing cards, however this should not rule out the opportunity of playing cards sharing options as properly.

A superb place to begin can be our EZ-Hyperlink playing cards. Presently, the EZ-Hyperlink app permits us to reload our EZ-Hyperlink playing cards with our telephones, however this function doesn’t lengthen to NETS Flashpay or different playing cards. It is a good begin, however extra will be accomplished right here to bridge the hole between playing cards and smartphones.

In any case, smartphones can run out of juice, and never everybody carries transportable batteries. Playing cards generally is a bit extra cumbersome, however they’ll function a superb backup when our telephones run out of battery.

It simply so occurs that Singapore and Malaysia have totally different visions for integrating their authorities know-how, however in actuality, we must always consider them much less as opponents and extra as two halves of the identical entire.

Whereas Singapore and Malaysia could also be two totally different international locations, with totally different wants and totally different folks, know-how can act as a bridge between the 2, and authorities know-how integration is an efficient place to begin.

Featured Picture Credit score: Hype Malaysia, Singpass

Additionally learn: The evolution of Singpass: how our nationwide digital id got here to be


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Why M’sia and S’pore use different mediums for government tech