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Digital transformation plans progress in ASEAN region

Digital transformation plans progress in ASEAN region
 

The world is about to receive its first region-wide digital economy agreement covering areas such as digital ID, digital payments, data flows, trade and much more.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is hoping that its ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) will harmonize digital economies across the 10-country bloc. But while policies can help digital transformation, socio-economic differences across the region and different regulatory regimes are posing challenges, writes Joo-Ok Lee, the World Economic Forum head of regional agenda for Asia-Pacific, in a new explainer on the initiative.

ASEAN Economic Ministers set the terms for negotiations on the framework in September 2023. Meetings are expected to continue until 2025.

Some countries have already started collaborating on the digital economy, including Thailand and Singapore’s work on cross-border payments and the PromptPay and PayNow systems.

The ASEAN digital economy is estimated to grow from approximately US$300 billion to almost US$1 trillion by 2030. The World Economic Forum is helping to establish the initiative alongside the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund.

Philippines prepares for biometric voter registration

The Philippines is moving ahead with its project to allow voters to cast votes outside their province of origin. The Register Anywhere Program (RAP) was proposed by the country’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) and includes submitting identity credentials and biometrics to register.

The agency is currently readying registration sites in preparation for the voter registration period that commences on February 12. Applicants have been  instructed to submit only government-issued IDs, the Philippine News agency reports.

“RAP registration sites will be set up in malls, universities, or government offices/agencies in all capital cities and towns and HUCs [highly urbanized cities] nationwide,” Comelec says. The program will also be held in select church organizations, private establishments, government agencies and educational institutions, the agency added.

The Register Anywhere Program was trialed during the voter registration period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in January 2023.

Malaysian state wants its own digital ID

The Malaysian state of Sarawak wants to establish its own digital identification called Sarawakpass by 2025.

Similar to Singapore’s Singpass, holders would be able to use the digital ID to access a wide array of services, including financial, private and public services such as the Autonomous Rapid Transit system, The Borneo Post reports.

“Meaning all will be cashless. You just need to have one card and get all the services that you need,” Premier of Sarawak Abang Johari Openg said at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) last week.

The Sarawakpass will also be used as a digital platform for the state to disburse targeted assistance to the 2.9 million citizens of the state situated on the island of Borneo, according to the Premier.

Malaysia is planning to roll out its nationwide digital ID, MyDigital ID, by July next year.

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