Using IT to reach out to the needy

CAN technology be leveraged on to provide food to the poor and needy? Dialog Group Bhd chairman and group managing director Ngau Boon Keat believes his proposed MyKasih welfare aid programme will be able to do so.

Ngau, the prime mover behind the project, believes it can ensure the entire welfare aid reaches the poor, as there will be an audit trial.

ePetrol provides users with the convenience of cashless payment at the petrol pump. It has kiosks at various locations, including petrol stations, banks and shopping malls, for customers to register and link their MyKad with bank accounts. Once registered, users can use their MyKad as a payment instrument.

Jeffrey Perera shows how to use the ePetrol system

ePetrol executive vice-president, business development and operations management, Jeffrey Perera emphasises the system will not access any of the user’s other personal information or records of the National Registration Department. “The system also does not embed any data on the MyKad. It only authenticates the data already available in the card,” he says.

The IT infrastructure makes it possible to reach 19 million Malaysians who have the MyKad. As the server for ePetrol has the capacity to handle 15 million accounts, it can be used for other solutions, including welfare payments, adds Perera.

“We are looking at the possibility of ePetrol being used by companies to make payments for dividends to shareholders’ accounts, EPF remittances, disbursement of scholarships and settlements of summonses,” he says.

Here’s where the MyKasih programme can leverage on the ePetrol technology infrastructure. About RM1mil has been pledged to the MyKasih Foundation so far, says Ngau.

He says the ePetrol idea came to mind during a Sunday church service when a parishioner raised the problem of abject poverty in the Klang Valley and how food could be delivered to the target groups.

It occurred to him to use the ePetrol technology as the poor and needy could buy foodstuff from participating kiosks and convenience stores.

As with any aid programme, the most crucial aspect is averting any leakages and channelling to the right recipient. Ngau says the ePetrol central interchange will enable the Government, corporations, welfare agencies, philanthropists and individuals to pool their resources.

Families will be selected by welfare agencies and/or the Government. Qualitative factors will include the number of members in the family, household income, priority given to single parents and ownership of assets. Each week, the family can go to the designated convenience stores or petrol stations to buy the essential groceries.

The MyKasih programme can be extended to other applications, which include payment of school fees, medical bills, uniforms and books.

Source: The Star