The state of IT in PerakIN THE 80s, only segments of the Perak state machinery were computerised, and much of it had been done on an ad hoc basis.
An integrated accounting system first proposed in 1984, under the purview of the State Treasury Department, is the oldest application used by the state.
It was later upgraded to modernise the treasury's money management, and was eventually replaced because it was deemed critical in monitoring and controlling the state's finances and expenditure.
In 1987, the Federal Government gave out a land revenue application system to all the land offices in the country for their use.
Although Perak state was happy with its IT development, it also realised the need to improve its applications in use as the pace of technology was rapidly changing.
Hence in the early 90s, the State Government undertook a turnkey project to build an integrated accounting application and financial system for local government, including the Ipoh City Council and Perak Water Board.
Despite having all these projects working in progress, the state was acutely aware of the need to have a team to manage all IT-related activities. Thus in September, 1993, an IT department was set up within the State Secretariat to manage IT projects for the state.
The department was also given the responsibility of managing the purchase of hardware and software. At the same time, it strove to fill all the technical vacancies in order to be able to begin full operations.
With some helpWhen Mohd Nor Hassan came on board in mid-1995, a steering and technical committee -- which also comprised experts from Universiti Sains Malaysia and Institut Teknologi Mara -- was set up to assist the state.
The experts contributed with updates on latest developments and advice on which direction to proceed with projects. Based on that, a policy and guideline for state computerisation was drawn up.
Key features that guided the policy included compatibility and open systems to ensure all computer systems in use, and to be used in future, can be networked.
Achievements were charted according to development of application systems and info- and infra-structure which include standards, hardware and software designed and lastly, human resources development.
Mohd Nor claims that all the applications used by the administrative machinery were developed in-house together with consultants and software vendors.
"We do everything at the IT centre here, and test each application thoroughly before installing it at the user site," he says.
Examples include the second phase in upgrading the integrated accounting and financial system for local authorities. The exercise, which began in Kampar two years ago, is the first improvement made to the system since it was first computerised in the early 90s.
Mohd Nor is confident that the upgrade exercise will be completed by the end of the year.
"Right now, all the district offices are in the process of keying in data -- concurrently implementing four modules which are budgeting, collection, payments, investment and human resources. The full system comprises 12 modules. By next year, all 12 modules are expected to be up and running," he says.
Apart from the applications created for land revenue, local government and the state accounting system, the IT department was also involved in developing an online intranet for the State Secretariat, the Perak Homepage and other smaller application systems.
The smaller systems, developed at the request of agencies or divisions, include a local housing application system, leave application system, file management system, library application (used by the State Economic Planning Unit) and scholarship application system.
This year, the state has allocated RM7.5mil for the development, management, administration and implementation of IT, compared to the RM5.2mil spent the previous year. - ANITA MATTHEWS
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