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Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) has embarked on a very interesting and exciting project. This particular project has a wider vision of transforming not only the organization to be world class, but it also encompasses by improving trade facilitation, providing better compliance, improving international ranking and ease of doing business, as well as improving the skillsets of our own officers nationwide. In short it is like a total makeover of the whole landscape of customs and trade facilitation per se. Thus, a project named as uCustoms: fingertips , anytime, anywhere & any device, come into being. It is a collaboration between RMCD as the owner of technology, Brinfo Sdn Bhd as the Vendor providing the solution, as well as KPMG as our Project Management Office (PMO) to monitor its progress and the highly dedicated uCustoms Project Teams of various sectors in Cyberjaya to collaborate and implement the project respectively. In this project, all aspects are taken into consideration, for example development and improvement in term of infrastructure, system application, integration, business process reengineering, job realignment as well as change management, training and transfer of technology.

Looking back at history, a decision was made via the Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Khas Kabinet Mengenai Keutuhan Pengurusan Kerajaan (JKKMKPK) on 27 July 2011 stating the need to revamp the current legacy system which was build in the 80’named the Sistem Maklumat Kastam (SMK) to be replaced with a new and more user friendly system which will promote trade facilitation and secure trade supply chain in Malaysia, based on findings and report done by a team led by MAMPU, a government agency overseeing the ICT and eGovernement initiative in Malaysia. The mandate to kick start the project was then being given the approval by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Based on the finding and report, a transformational change was proposed to replace SMK, hence a strategic course was set. Among others were:

  • To facilitate and create hassle free services in trade and customs matters to traders
  • To ensure high compliance amongst traders
  • To minimize human intervention
  • To give value added services to trading community for both local and international

In order to achieve that, some critical success factors were drawn as below:

  • To pursue change management in the course of implementing the project and identify a group of people as change agents and champions in respective key areas of the project
  • To create healthy environment for other agency to collaborate with RMCD in order to garner momentum and synergy both government and private entity
  • To set up a dedicated team in development of the project
  • Creating strong Buy-In from all stakeholders involved in this project, internally and externally.

In creating the best possible result, the Vendor which undertakes this project, approved by Ministry of Finance Malaysia has proposed the usage of two solutions i.e. Microclear and Greenline Systems respectively. In addition, Greenline Systems is one of the solution used in the world that has a comprehensive tactical cargo and vessel targeting system thus enabling the vision of National Targeting Center (NTC) to be realized faster than any other risk management solution. For this project, they also provide various subject matter experts (SMEs) covering various aspects and discipline. Apart of that KPMG, being the PMO of the project played a vital role in advising JKDM on other aspects of the project in which ultimately failing to do so will result in major adverse impact of the project. uCustoms also benchmarked global best practices in customs matters, in particular IT projects to ensure the effective approach is in line with trends occurring elsewhere in term of providing trade facilitation. The 8 main Clusters in uCustoms are depicted as below:

  • Registration and licensing
  • Clearance
  • Control and prevention
  • Audit and enforcement
  • Revenue collection
  • System management
  • Technology
  • Knowledge management

Apart of the solutions, some effort in order to make changes in other areas are being executed as below:

  • Amendement of the Customs Act 1967 and respective corresponding procedures
  • Creation of National Targeting Center (NTC) to handle central risk management works of profiling and targeting of vessels, cargoes and passengers
  • Creation of National Clearance Center (NCC) to handle central submision of manifests and all types of declaration made via uCustoms
  • Creation of Customs Examination Areaa (CEA) to handle physical examination dan other works related on the field regionally
  • Upgrading of Customs Consultation Center i.e the Customs Call Center, to handle calls and provide Tier 3 support for customers using the uCustoms aplication

Thusfar, a lot of effort has been carried out to realise this project to reality, though challenges may arise from time to time, eventually this project has been the pinnacle to ensure trade facilitation is being materialised and excercised effectively in Malaysia as the Trade Facilitation Agreement(TFA) which has been recently signed by our country and along with many other bilateral and multilateral agreements being signed over the years, this project has defintely should be able to cover most of the requirements much needed by RMCD, Cross Border Regulatory Agencies (CBRAs), Ports Authorities as well as the players involved in the supply chain.In short, the scope of this project has now blown bigger then Customs itself, where it also covers the whole supply chain, end to end.

With respect to continuous engagement with key stakeholders, it is done namely to gain their Buy-In and creating high level of synergy, to work a way for integration and support to perform once Simulation and Go Live stage comes into picture later on. This are all done in order to ensure that uCustoms which among other to replace the role of National Single Window (NSW) currently managed by DagangNet, could be realised. It is extremely important as Malaysia is already known to have its mechanism in NSW, however, this time the difference is that it is now totally owned by the Government and managed by RMCD, with the aim to further REDUCE the clearance time(hence providing rooms for pre-arrival clearance), cost of doing business and the number of documents needed in order to clear cargoes for import, exports and other related activities pertaining to trade covering all modes i.e sea, air and land. This is not an easy task and indeed is currently is our key challenges as many parties are involved in various many stages of the project. However, if we managed to realised its true potential and benefit, this initiative will provide huge impact and form part of the major favourable results in benefit realisation of this particular project in future.

With respect to change management, training and transfer of technology, RMCD acknowledge that while it is important to improve and transform our legacy system i.e SMK to further facilitate trade and improve compliance, it is also equally important to enhance the skillsets of our own officers to support, embrace and accept the change occuring, especially Senior Officers who are namely members of PERKASA. Hence, the change management, training and transfer of technology is equally important to ensure the successfulness of this project especially with respect to the Change Readiness in Human aspect. Currently, there are more than 196 State Champions for Change Management nationwide, all able to carry out their duties to inform, communicate, engaged and assist internal and external stakeholder in familiarising themselves with uCustoms concepts and later on the application itself once ready. This is a very high commitment which RMCD and eventually PERKASA can be proud of as it marks the level of highly strong support that any Government Agencies in Malaysia could ever had in a given IT project such as uCustoms. It has been endorsed, not only by the uCustoms Project Team Director and the Director General himself(upon appointment of all State Champions since May 2014), but also professional consultant such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers(PwC) who regularly collaborate together with the Project Team (Change Management sector) and Brinfo Sdn Bhd (Change Management sector) with respect to Change Management, Training and Transfer of Technology initiatives. I salute to all of them for their energy, collaboration, courage and commitment personally!

Having said that, we should all look forward for this project to continue it’s journey towards success, regardless of any challenges ahead. I am confident that this project will provide the necessary boost that our organization as well as the nation needed and more importantly what other key stakeholders wished for. We want to cease this opportunity to recount back the experience we had while delivering the uCustoms Roadshow nationwide in 2014. It was very encouraging as most of our officers, especially Senior Officers of RMCD, including our external stakeholders, are really looking forward and have positive vibes about this project. This shows us that we are currently on the right track, but more importantly is for us to keep the good work and push further ahead with continuous collaborations and engagements to successfully implement the project that is where we finally reach our vision: To be a world class customs administration.

Prepared by:
Mohammad Haizam Hashim, PKPK II
Change Management Team Lead
uCustoms Project Team
Cyberjaya, 13 April 2016

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Pic 1 – Challenges in managing change in project
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Pic 2 – uCustoms roadshow nationwide 2014
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