Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Driving License extended

Ow has an interesting factoid. When we met at aizat's birthday a few months back, he said that someone in a room of 10 is bound to have a driving license expired, or close to expiring. And true enough mine was going to expire (then) on the 2nd of October. Of course being the serial procrastinator that I am, I subsequently forgot about renewing it.

On the 4th of October, two days after the expiry, I checked the JPJ website and noticed that there is a 'CDL Renewal Online' feature hosted by a third party, MyEG.com.my. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to test it out. I filled in my details, paying by Credit Card, and submitted the information.

I opted for a 5 year extension (RM150) and for the new license to be delivered to my office (RM5). MyEG seems to be charging RM2 for the service, which sounds fair. But considering the income generating nature of JPJ, citizens should expect service as this to be completely free. Additionally any form of automation would reduce overheads for JPJ.

At the end of it all, you get a official looking receipt with all the JPJ logos and all:

I double checked this by going to the main site, and clicking on 'License Expiry Date Inquiry' tab. The interface changed from English to Malay (because the URL seems to be hardcoded with the language settings). I punched in my IC number, and this is what I got:


Confirmation of a 5 year extension! I was still skeptical of the renewal because it seemed all too effortless. Additionally, my recently expired license is already 10 years old, and the picture of me was taken another 10 years prior.

So I waited for a few days... 7 days in all. I received a Registered Post letter from JPJ, which enclosed a laminated card stating that my old license indeed has been extended for another five years. This extra card (which they call a 'Slip') is 'To Be Produced With Driving License'. It makes my wallet marginally thicker, but I guess its a fair trade for an afternoon of bureaucracy.

Overall, I was impressed with this. Seems like a small thing to most IT enabled countries where doing things online is of the norm. But when Ive been disappointed with the online services in Malaysia so many times todate, I guess my standards are far lower.

Here are some points for JPJ to improve on:
  1. Do not hardcode the IP address of the servers on the website. Its currently now pointing to '202.190.64.96'. It makes linking directly to your services difficult especially in the future when you change your servers.
  2. Someone messed up with the sidebar links. Remove the '/lang,ms/' option in the URLs. This forces the language to flip from English to Malay on subsequent clicks.
  3. Its unnerving to be moved to another site, and another window when clicking on the CDL extension. Make it clear that MyEG is a trusted partner or embed the payment page within the main JPJ site. It would be alot better if this feature was seamless to the user.
  4. Don't making using the online service any less attractive to drivers. There should not be any additional costs (RM2). In fact online applications should be encouraged, and there should even be a small rebate.
Because only 5 people will read this blog post, I cannot guarantee that one of you will have an expiring or expired license. But if you do, you'd be glad to know you can now renew it online.

yk.

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