Rangkaian Khidmat Awam Negeri Sarawak

(People, events, activities and programmes which make for a total quality-managed Sarawak Civil Service)

ISSN 1394-5726

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Gearing Up for the IT Era
Article contributed by ICT unit, CMD

The State government strives to make a quantum leap into the IT era
Information Technology (IT) is and will continuously to be an important supporting tool in the organizations' business and operation as well as in decision making. In today's competitive world, information is being viewed as an important asset as well as a critical element for success in any organization. Information without the necessary supporting technology to deliver it to the right place at the right time will quickly become valueless. Likewise, technology without the information will become an empty talk. The challenge has always been to balance between the collection and consolidation of information and the investment on the technology so that the information can be made available and affordable to anyone at the right time and the right place.
Currently, there are more than 80 local area networks at divisional and district levels

With the clear foresight and commitment of the State Government to make a quantum leap for the State Civil Service into the age of Information Technology, various projects were implemented. Among which were two important phases; the Local Area Network (LAN) and the Wide Area Network (WAN) projects. These phases become the significant direction towards a succesful IT development in Sarawak, as what have been targeted in the State Government compu-terization plan in 1994.

The LAN has been implemented to cater to the increasing necessity for the State Agency to put up such an infrastructure to enable more viable electronic communi-cations and resources sharing among the users located in different floors in their premises. The LAN enables the users to communicate, exchange data and share information with one another.

In 1997, the FIRST and the only one State WAN in Malaysia was built and commissioned to pull the agencies at the divisional level closely to their headquarters as well as to the main State Government administration center at Wisma Bapa Malaysia. Implementing and operating this sole WAN combines and connects all the LANs which are becoming a state-wide Information Super-Highway. This opens the doors of commu-nications not only among the users in different depart-ments, State Mi-nistries and key agencies, but also allows them to connect to the whole world, which we call as Internet. The success of planning, designing and developing LANs and State WAN comprehensively built up such infrastructure defined as SarawakNet™.

SarawakNet deploys a blend of innovative technologies

SarawakNet™ has mainly become the centralized platform for data communications, electronic mailing and resources sharing among the users in State Agencies throughout Sarawak.

SarawakNet™ offers information publishing, information searching, web-messaging, application hosting ranging from office automation, customized applications, intranets to workgroups applications.

SarawakNet™ is also a gateway for the users to "hop" into the Internet services.

SarawakNet™ deploys a blend of innovative technologies. From the core to the edges, SarawakNet™ deploys copper cabling, fiber optics, infrared, microwave and satellite with various speed and bandwith to support its online information transmissions in the form of textual data, voice, image and video format. The infrastructure of SarawakNet™ or also known as the Sarawak Government Data Network, will gradually be upgraded and the services will be enhanced progressively. Currently more than 80 local area networks (LAN) at divisional and district levels have linked up to the WAN to form part of SarawakNet™. By the year 2002, the coverage of SarawakNet™ is targeted to extend further to rural and subdistrict areas throughout the State.

The Sarawak Government Intranet services enable effective and efficient data processing and disseminating of Government information. It is a focal point for data collection and submission, sharing input and exchange queries. Users will be able to communicate, send messages, interact and trigger work activity across agencies regardless of geographical location. It is the operating environment for the overall government generic office computing in State Public Sector. The development of Sarawak-NetTM is the main foundation to initiate the convergence and align-ment of the New Civil Service Paradigm where "...State Government Services shall be available at anytime, anywhere, to anyone in Sarawak..."- (State Sec., 1995).

Special Features of SARAWAKNET™

SarawakNet™ allows fast retrieval of information

SarawakNet™ operates 24 hours non-stop and access is via authorised user-id and password. The network infrastructure and services is designed to provide high reliability, availability and security (RAS). To ensure reliable and quality service, the network, web servers and storage are fortified with management and monitoring tools designed to provide high availability. It incorporates security features to prevent hacking and illegal access to information systems databases. Furthermore, Sarawak-NetTM is developed behind FireWalls to prevent unauthorised entry and any remote possibility of hacking. FireWalls becomes the "gatekeeper" for the Information Highway in SarawakNet™ to screen any data and information that pass through the highway to ensure it is safe and secure. In addition, all respective desktop connections in SarawakNet™ are installed with anti-virus software, administered and monitored from a central server.

SarawakNet™ Services mainly support 10 Statewide applications including e-mail and the others are grouped into 6 sub- networks, consisting of GovNet, LawNet, LibraryNet, EduNet, GISNet and HRNet. There are also more than 20 mirrored Internet sites provided, including "Sarawak On-Line" which is the official Internet Homepage of the Sarawak State Government.

E-government applications such as Leave Management System, Talikhidmat, PROACTS, Deve-lopment Projects Monitoring, E-DUN, Voice over IP (VOIP) or Computer Telephony, etc. have been deployed over SarawakNet™. These systems use messaging, collaboration and workflow technologies integrated with online access and updates to information databases. Connected PCs and servers on SarawakNet™ are remotely administered without having to travel to site. Users can communicate and work with their colleagues at the far end of the State without having to leave their desk. Web based messaging and content searching capability coupled with workflow functions drastically boost user productivity. The browser technology that is adopted as the common front for accessing SarawakNet™ comprehensively has reduced the application deployment cost per desktop. The result of these new generations web-enabled applications is a convenient, faster and cheaper means of collaborating. Thus, productivity and cost savings in the Government Service can be attained.

SarawakNet™ allows fast retrieval of information and provides management and statistical reports that improve the administrative services and speed up the decision making processes. The Information Resource Library provides electronic databases on General Orders, Circulars, Statutes, Treasury Instructions, Directory Listing, News, Events and Discussion Forum.

The LAN enables the users to communicate , exchange data and share information


LibraryNet is an online portal service dedicated to serving the library community of information providers and information consumers. Hosted on the LibraryNet portal server is ANGKASA, a web-based Library Management System. Access is via leased line connection to SarawakNet™ and authenticated via user-id and password control at the application level. ANGKASA eliminates the need for subscribers to invest in application server hardware and database licenses as the application and data is web hosted on the LibraryNet server. Residing in LibraryNet is the Union Catalogue, a data warehouse of bibliographic records shared among participating libraries. This huge database minimizes the tedious effort of original cataloging.

In striving towards achieving a paperless electronic Government, SarawakNet™ has made it possible for all the conventional paper-based circulars and documents to be converted into electronic formats. This paperless and yet empowered technology has lessened the paper usage as well as the need to shuffle around and look for office space to house those paper documents. As more and more of them are converted to or generated in electronic formats, the tasks of filing, organizing, tracking, referencing and retrieving will just get friendlier, more convenient and best of all a chance to be systematic and efficient. Indeed, with the amount of orderly information at your fingertips, SarawakNet™ gives confidence!


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