Technology could have prevented the interstate movement request swarm in Malaysia
The movement control order in Malaysia is putting people under a slight panic mode. Overbuying is one of the examples but there’s another problem that might make the situation worse.
Some citizens are taking this opportunity to go back to their home towns. However, the government has imposed an interstate travel ban in which citizens are only allowed to travel after requesting for permission and only under strict circumstances.
Even when the circumstances were listed, citizens are still gathering at police stations requesting permission without a good reason.
In the form, citizens were requested to note down their names, address, type of car, number of people, destination, and reason.
Now I get it, everyone is just fearful and unsure what to do. Panic sets in and we drop our judgment. It’s not an excuse for these people, but try being empathetic.
But perhaps, these procedures could be done digitally via these methods instead of the scene that took place yesterday.
Using web portals to submit the request.
The Malaysian government has moved almost everything to a digital platform. Passport, road tax, and driving license renewals have online services.
Even income taxes can be calculated and paid online.
It would have been best for the government to set up an online portal where citizens can submit their reasons and get approval within hours or days.
For speedier development, they could use existing functions and designs. With little modifications, which should not take more than a day or two, it can be done.
Create a new tab in an existing app.
Other than web portals, Malaysia also utilizes many apps to help ease daily life and hassles, from getting parking tickets paid to alerting emergency services.
The government could create or even add a section within already-available apps that allows Malaysians to send in their interstate travel applications.
It’ll also be easier to send citizens their denied or approved forms because the government could send them a notification through the app.
Old school phone calls.
You might ask: What about those who are not tech savvy?
Well, the government could always default back to a simple and easy phone call. Get the citizen’s details, reasons, and duration of their stay.
In some cases, they could be accepted or declined on the spot. If it’s approved, the government could send them a digital copy of their pass and they could just flash it to authorities when needed.
Perhaps the government didn’t have time to implement these features. Or panic among officials has clouded their judgment.
Rather than getting angry or upset with how officials are handling the situation, the people should also be aware of what they’re doing.