Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5. Online Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP) Services (09B4092)

Tabung Amanah Pekerja or the Employees Trust Fund, is a department under the Ministry of Finance responsible for collecting 10% contributory fund from employees (TAP members) for their retirement. Every month, employees who are residents and citizens of the country will have 5% of their salary deducted for their retirement savings in TAP, another 5% is topped up by their employers. It is the employer’s responsibility to deduct and pay the contribution to TAP over the counter. TAP also has several provisions for withdrawal depending on the employees eligibility, for example, withdrawal to build or to buy a house, pre-retirement withdrawal at the age of 50 (25% of savings), withdrawals for permanently incapacitated employees, and etc.

Currently, employees receive their TAP statement annually which is posted to their home or office address. Registration and withdrawals application are done over the counter, where TAP members are required to fill in specific forms with relevant documents (if necessary). Based on TAP’s Website (, there are already some forms available which members and employers can download, however, the forms still needs to be submitted to TAP counter. In terms of contribution payment, the latest service provided by TAP is payment of contributions by employers directly to several (but not all) banks in Brunei.

Therefore, we would like to see some of TAP services done online, we recommend the following along with our justifications:

  1. e-Payment for TAP contributions from the employers account to TAP account - the system shall provide a template of all the employees listed under the employer’s account, and employers can change the details electronically (e.g. resigned employees, or change of salary) without having to go through the hassle of filling in and submitting confirmation forms to TAP’s office. Notably, only authorized personnel shall have access to employers’ account. This system will facilitate employers as they do not have to go to the TAP’s offices or the banks to make the payment. Additionally, the employers’ account shall also consist of a special notification or reminder ‘pop-up’ so that payments will be made on time, and employers do not have to worry about paying late payment charges and dividend loss (if payments are made after TAP’s grace period).
  2. e-Registration of employees and employers - as TAP is mandatory to employees who are citizens and permanent residents of Brunei, and with the growing workforce in the country, most businesses will most likely have increasing number of new employees. Through e-Registration, employers will not have to go to TAP’s office to collect the form, have their employees to fill in their details, submit back to TAP, and then have to wait for these new employees TAP’s account number. We suggest that the e-Registration system will enable employees to register, and at the same time, create a TAP e-account for them.
  3. Online TAP statement for members - Noting the above suggestion, the online TAP statement shall also be available whereby members will be able to check their TAP funds and also to check if their 5% salary deduction is made to TAP. If no or wrong deduction is made, members shall be able to directly notify TAP (electronically). This way, members do not have to wait for one year to wait for their annual statements to finally be able to check their past 12 months contributions, which, consequently will take longer process for TAP to check and take action upon. By having an e-account, members will also be facilitated in planning for their retirement by looking at their latest retirement fund and projecting their future wealth more properly.
  4. Online withdrawal applications - currently, members who wish to make withdrawals to their funds (partially or the whole sum, depending on their eligibility)are required to fill in specific withdrawal forms which can be obtained from TAP's offices pr downloaded from its Website. These forms need to be physically submitted back to TAP for further processes. Therefore, to facilitate members, we would like to see the availability of online withdrawal application whereby members can apply online, without having t go to TAP's office. The Website must provide a comprehensive guidelines on how members can apply online and can only be processed when certain criteria is met, for example, using a password, or authentication via telephone by TAP's officers. The Website must also be interactive in such a way that it can provide the latest status of a member's withdrawal application (eg. not yet processed, in the process, rejected, or approved).

4. e-Payment on Electricity Prepaid Meter Token (09B4107)

The Department of Electrical Services (DES) had a pilot project on prepaid metering in 1996 and since 1998 has started the prepaid metering system. Until now, the token can only be purchased from the DES counters during office hours only except for Friday, where the counters open from 8.00am to 11.00am. All counters are closed during weekend and public holidays.

The old prepaid meter shows the amount display on the screen so that consumers can easily monitor the available credit and they can control their electrical consumption and spend as much they can afford.

With the introduction of the new prepaid meter, consumers have difficulty in monitoring the available credit because the display is not shown in dollar amount but in kilowatt-hour, which they find it difficult to read and do not know when to purchase their token and this results in low credit which can happens anytime during the day and night and even worse during weekends and public holidays.

Most consumers didn’t notice when they are running out of credit, even though there is an alert or a warning of low credit when the amount is less than $20.00 and an electrical trip when the amount is $5.00 and below, and worst more with the new prepaid meter which only shows the available kilowatt-hour. At least when this happened anytime no matter during the day, night, weekend and public holidays, consumer could purchase their token online. To justify this are examples of sick people at home like those kidney patients who are using the Automated Peritoneal Dialysis Treatment at home and especially those with newborn babies.

To encourage people to use the prepaid meter system, the government should make initiatives to liaise with banks for consumers to easily purchase the token through online. This does not only to improve the cash flow of the government where in December 2005 the DES records debts in arrears of unpaid electricity bills amounting to $250 million. This is also to create energy awareness to educate Bruneian families, businesses and government agencies about the importance of energy savings. The electrical power comes from the conversion of natural gas and oil, which are burnt to generate electricity. By creating and maintaining an energy efficient environment, it can greatly reduce the cost of consumers’ electricity bills, and help the nation in protecting the environment and safeguarding the future of natural oil and gas.

3. One stop business online application centre (09B4109)

Setting up a business in Brunei takes approximately 116 days when compared to setting up businesses overseas such as Singapore and we are ranked 96th internationally extracted from a report on Doing Business 2010, from June 2008 until May 2009. As a country aiming to diversify the economy away from oil and gas, Brunei should look for ways to improve the conditions for attracting Small Medium Enterprises to flourish in the country. Brunei should also concentrate on attracting foreign investors into the country as this will help increase the skills and technical know-how of locals through joint ventures with local companies thus improving the country’s productivity on both skilled labour and local products. Therefore Brunei should improve the current system for setting up businesses from applying manually to various Government Agencies which consumes a lot of time and cost by providing a one stop online system where people are able to apply online therefore receiving prompt replies from the various government agencies.

Currently, Brunei do not have a one stop online system which caters to the needs of business minded people where applicants are able to register their businesses online, look up government laws and regulations about certain types of businesses and so on. The system that we use in Brunei is done either manually or through online applications where there are altogether 18 procedures from registering your company’s name with the Registrar of Companies to application for miscellaneous licenses from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Although some of the applications are done online, however the systems of government agencies are not linked to each other yet.

The only online system which caters to the needs of businessmen in the country is the Business Facilitation Centre provided by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources under eMIPR. Through eMIPR the public is able to apply for various services ranging from investment incentives to application for industrial complexes, land for agricultural purposes, license to fish, miscellaneous licenses for importing and selling first hand or second hand cars or exporting second hand cars overseas. However again, what the current system is lacking is that the website is not linked with other government related agencies who are also responsible for helping people in opening up their businesses such as the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Home Affairs, Labour Department to name a few.

This system is a one stop business application online system whereby the website is uploaded with information regarding about Government laws and regulations, assistance, licenses and permits that you need for your business. This way we can save time and start-up cost therefore we will be able to compete with other countries in terms of capturing good international companies to open up in the country. In addition, the level of efficiency will also improve as human errors through the manual system will decrease.

For example Singapore has the EnterpriseOne where currently through this system, the country is currently ranked the 1st in the Ease of Doing Business where it only takes 3 days for people to set up their businesses there and they only have to go through 3 different steps of procedures.

Even though the cost for setting up such platform is expensive, it will definitely help Brunei to attract more businesses thus help diversify the economy away from oil and gas sectors.

2. Online Consumer / Customer Complaints (09B4134)

Currently, there is no proper channel available for consumers to raise their concerns or make complaints on matters pertaining to consumer goods sold in the country. This can be in terms of quality, pricing and others matters that are causes dissatisfaction to consumers. Therefore we would like to suggest an online consumer complaints system.

As consumers’ prices in the country are controlled by the Department of Economic Planning and Development, we therefore would like to see the system to be developed by the Prime Minister's Office. We suggest the system to be as follows:

  1. To create a website that is able to categorize each and every product sold in Brunei, either according to the brand, the manufacturer, the distributor, or any fields that may be appropriate.
  2. A special page whereby a consumer can post their dissatisfaction or complaints on the goods sold in Brunei, for example, a good that is priced differently, particularly over-charged sales.
  3. The complaints made shall not be limited on the goods only, but also any complaints regarding the traders, suppliers, and distributors in Brunei.
  4. There shall also be a special page for complaints against distributors or suppliers, for example, goods that are faulty or of low quality and even deceptive advertising.
  5. The government shall follow-up with the concern parties to resolve the complaints.

We believe these services will be beneficial not just to the consumers, but also the government, and businesses in the country.

Consumers in Brunei will feel that their interest is being protected from businesses that take advantage of them (e.g. overcharging). This service can enhance a closer bond between the public and the government, where the public can conveniently and quickly reach the authority. This service can also promote the government’s relationship with the public and businesses by being the channel and solution provider to consumers and businesses issues.

The benefits this can bring to businesses (suppliers/ distributors/ retailers) are that they will be able to improve their products, goods and services to consumers’ expectation according to their complaints. This will, in turn, retaining current customers as well as to attract more customers for their goods. Furthermore, this can help them understand consumers’ preferences and consequently enable them to deliver products, goods and services that are of the same or higher quality and cheaper prices.

1. Interactive Electronic Job Application Forms (SPA1 & SPA2) - Civil Service Department (09B4094)

The first step or requirement for an applicant to apply for a job in the pubic / government sector is to fill in the SPA1 form, which requires the applicant to complete lengthy personal and academic details, and must enclose the applicant’s relevant documents (eg. academic certification). For a subsequent application, an applicant may use the SPA2 form, which only requires the applicant to fill in his choice(s) of jobs. These forms are available in the Public Service Commission, Prime Minister's Office. These forms are also available online, whereby applicants may download the forms. However, the forms still need to be physically submitted to the Public Service Commission for further processing.

We would, therefore, like to propose an interactive job application procedures, in which, applicants can just fill in and submit the form online. An example of such online application is the UCAS System, where students can make applications to the universities of their interest online. The benefits for this are as follows:

  1. Applicants can interactively and electronically submit forms instantly without having to come down to The Public Service Commission and ease the burden of those applicants who live in Temburong, Tutong and Belait District.
  2. Applicants can submit forms on time especially on position advertised with limited dateline period.
  3. On receiving these forms interactively, the department can save data in a consistent manner as well as retrieve the data which will be stored in a special database central server.
  4. Such services interactively will improve Government response and public satisfaction (two way communication between Public and the Government) especially informing applicants on their status of their applications.
  5. Physical forms can get misplaced easily by the department and this requires applicants to refill in new forms and come down to the department to resubmitting it.

Group Members and Blog Creators

09B4094 - Interactive Electronic Job Application Forms (SPA1 & SPA2) - Civil Service Department
09B4134 - Online Consumer / Customer Complaints
09B4109 - One Stop Business Online Application Centre
09B4107 - e-Payment on Electricity Prepaid Meter Token
09B4092 - Online Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP) Services

Identify and describe five online services that you would like to see offered on eGovernment websites in Brunei

According to the E-Government National Centre (EGNC), there are four key drivers for the e-Government initiatives. Briefly, this includes modernizing the civil service, to build a more transparent and accountable government, to meet challenges of globalization, and to better prepare ourselves for future crises. EGNC, formed in 2008, is a centralized organization that concentrates on IT in Civil Service, to oversee the development of IT personnel, centralize procurement of IT equipments and to provide common Government-wide applications and shared IT Services among all ministries.

The Director of EGNC stated in an interview with one of our local newspaper ( that there are more than 100 e-government projects that have been completed. The TAFIS system, for example, helps the Ministry of Finance to accelerate its operation process by reducing the manual process. Others include the PMONet, SMS for Passport Renewal, e-Registration for businesses, Portal and information kiosk on the Muslim affairs, Land Transport Department e-Services, e-Customs, and many more.

Looking at the expansion of e-government throughout the public sector, there are several services that we would like to see offered. However, for the purpose of this assignment, we will highlight five services we would like to propose in some government websites:

  1. Interactive Electronic Job Application Forms (SPA1 & SPA2) - Civil Service Department
  2. Online Consumer / Customer Complaints
  3. One Stop Business Online Application Centre
  4. e-Payment on Electricity Prepaid Meter Token
  5. Online Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP) Services