THERE is no running away from government services, be it the paying of a parking summons or getting a licence renewed.
When it comes to providers of e-government services, My E.G. Services Bhd comes first to mind. Over the last decade, the company has become synonymous with e-government services and is now worth billions of ringgit as it helps connect its customers to some of the more than 370 government agencies that provide services directly to the people.
However, competition is emerging. A company called Dapat Vista Sdn Bhd is offering the same services on a digital platform called MyPay, albeit for different government agencies in the initial stages.
“MyEG does provide the same service, but what they do is not exclusive to them,” says Sabri Rahman, founder of Dapat Vista, in an interview with The Edge. “We are their competition.”
While declaring itself a competitor to a much larger and established company is a bold move, he believes the field is wide enough for more than one player.
“There are close to 400 government departments and agencies providing services to the rakyat. They each have services relevant to the people. We are giving more options to the public to choose what’s best for them as a means to deal with the agencies,” says Sabri.
But how will MyPay distinguish itself from MyEG?
According to Sabri, MyPay’s platform promotes the idea of having a single digital platform that can access multiple government services. In short, a one-stop centre.
Malaysians have numerous government payments to contend with, and reminders to prompt renewal and payment are useful, be it road tax, quit rent or blacklist checks on travel restrictions, among others.
Although all the information is linked to the Malaysian identification number, one still needs to search in different government offices or websites for the information. Furthermore, the information is only available when someone takes the initiative to look for it, rather than being prompted to look for it.
While pioneer Malaysians might say they never had to be reminded to do their part in society, the younger generations might find that this is not so.
But notifications are useful and increasingly common in the expanding age of technology. Think how many friendships and relationships have been saved by Facebook birthday and relationship anniversary notifications.
The same concept applies to MyPay. Through this platform, a user will have a dashboard of all the government services or payments that he or she needs to deal with.
“For instance, I am a Kelantanese, and although I have been living in Kuala Lumpur for more than 30 years now, I still have a property in Kota Bharu that I need to pay electricity and water bills on, and quit rent to the local government there,” says Sabri.
“So, through MyPay, even though I am now a resident of Kuala Lumpur, I will still get notifications about my commitments to Majlis Perbandaran Kota Bharu. And I can also pay my quit rent to Majlis Perbandaran Kota Bharu through it.”
However, for MyPay to really become a super app for government services and as a payment gateway, it will need to get more government agencies and departments on its platform. A deep-pocketed partner-investor will be needed to support its growth.
On March 6, Sinotop Holdings Bhd announced that it plans to acquire a 30% stake in Television Airtime Services Sdn Bhd (TAS) — Sabri’s investment vehicle, which owns a 20% stake in Dapat Vista — for RM7 million. The consideration will be satisfied via cash and share issuances.
This deal was revised last Thursday for Sinotop to acquire a 51% stake in TAS at the same consideration of RM2 million cash and RM5 million worth of shares issued to Sabri, representing 10% of the former’s share base.
Meanwhile, Dapat Vista’s 80% shareholder is HeiTech Padu Bhd, the information technology system integrator. HeiTech Padu has been a shareholder of Dapat Vista since 2015, through an initial investment of RM10 million, says Sabri.
However, due to the different nature of HeiTech Padu’s businesses compared with Dapat Vista — the former is a business-to-government outfit while the latter is a consumer-facing venture — the majority shareholder decided to become a minority by selling a 60% stake in Dapat Vista to TAS.
TAS will pay HeiTech Padu RM13.5 million, plus a RM4 million profit guarantee that was not achieved previously, for the 60% stake in Dapat Vista.This deal was initially to be concluded on Feb 29. However, TAS requested an extension of deadline to May 31, to which HeiTech Padu agreed. This is to make way for the investment from Sinotop to come in before the stake in Dapat Vista is acquired by TAS.
Can Sinotop, a previously struggling fabric producer, make MyPay a super app for government services?
Last May, Sinotop sold its fabric production business in China — Be Top Group Ltd — to its controlling shareholder, Gifted Investments Ltd, for RM70 million. Be Top is a producer of customised woven loom-state fabrics made from cotton and synthetic and mixed yarn.
Sinotop group managing director and executive director Pan Ding said then that the disposal of Be Top was due to the deteriorating financial performance and eroding profit margin of the fabric business and the challenging and competitive environment of the fabric business in China.
As at Dec 31, 2019, Sinotop had RM1.6 million in cash and bank balances. However, it has classified RM119 million worth of non-current assets as “for sale”. At the same time, it had accumulated losses of RM64.4 million.
It remains to be seen whether Sinotop can help transform MyPay into a super app for government services and to take on MyEG.