Development of an Electronic Customs Information System








Monday, 08 September 1997
INTRODUCTION

The expansion and popularity of the Internet is fast changing the way consumers access and purchase
information, communicate and pay for services, and acquire and pay for goods. Today, the number of
internet users are growing at an exponential rate. What this means for businesses is an abundant and highly
dynamic market which is wide open to those businesses with the expertise and product to market on it.

Customs information gathering has long been a time consuming manual task. Even with the advent of
numerous indexes and catalogues specifically tailored to address the issue, the time it usually takes to find
relevant information pertaining to any matter is lengthy. Only with the relatively recent appearance of
computers and databases has the process been slightly simplified.

With ECIS, we are revitalising the whole system by providing the first Customs Information search engine
on the Internet. The system is designed to utilise Internet technology in getting information fast and in a
less painful manner. The system is dynamic and the information is integrated, interactive and user friendly.
Unlike the conventional way, where one has to fumble laboriously thorough pages and pages of various
Customs gazettes, this method will enable the user to get Customs information effortlessly within seconds.

CURRENT ISSUES

Current methods to search for customs information have always been effective to a certain extent.
However, these methods have several drawbacks :-

Manual compilation required.
Information has to be compiled from many different sources.
Information published are usually not up-to-date and lagging by 2-3 weeks.
Time taken to compile complete information on any matter is lengthy.
Information obtained is incomplete & liable to misinterpretation.

ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS INFORMATION SYSTEM

The Electronic Customs Information System allows easy and effortless retrieval of customs and excise
information (tax, duties etc.) through the Internet (World Wide Web). The system is search based and can
be accessed by any individual with connections to the internet and provides a complete picture, omitting
nothing.
Malaysian Government Laws on Customs
The Malaysian Electronic Customs Information System is designed to give up to date information on the
subject of laws and regulations governing the Malaysian customs environment.

Among the rules and regulations commonly used are :-

a) The Customs Duties Order 1996 - P.U.(A)15/96
b) The Customs (Prohibition of Imports) Order 1988 -P.U.(A)408/87
c) The Customs (Prohibition of Exports) Order 1988 -P.U.(A)409/87
d) The Sales Tax (Exemption) Order 1980 - P.U.(A)385/80
e) The Sales Tax (Rates of Tax Order 1986 - P.U.(A)414/87
f) The Excise Duties Order 1991 - P.U.(A)381/91
g) The Excise Duties (Partial Exemption) (West Malaysia) Order 1989 - P.U.(A)51/89
h) The Excise Duties (Partial Exemption) (Sabah and Sarawak) Order 1989 - P.U.(A)52/89
i) The Excise Duties (Partial Exemption) (Labuan and Langkawi) Order 1989 - P.U.(A)53/89
j) The Customs Duties (Exemption) (Goods of ASEAN Countries Origin) Order 1988 - P.U.(A)415/87 and
k) The Customs Duties (Exemption) (Goods of ASEAN Countries Origin) (Common Effective Preferential
Tariff) 1995 - P.U.(A)418/95


Business/Customer Relationship

The following organisations may find this system useful :-

1) The Ministry of Finance
2) The Ministry of International Trade & Industry
3) The Royal Customs & Excise Dept.
4) Trade Commissioners of Foreign Embassies and High Commissions based in Malaysia
5) Members of Asean, Apec, EAEG, WTO and countries having trade relations with Malaysia.
6) Traders, importers , exporters, shippers, manufacturers and freight forwarders.
7) Since the system is in the internet, the information thus will be made available global.

Benefits
The implementation and use of the Malaysian Electronic Customs Information System will result in the
following benefits :-

i) Assurance of Continuous up-to-date information on ever-changing laws and regulations.
ii) Ease of retrieval due to incorporated search features.
iii) Time savings as compared to traditional methods.
iv) Fast cross references and search by goods/description features and classification numbers.
CONTENT PREPARATION & SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
Electronic Document Preparation
The full document preparation flow is attached in Appendix 1. Processes involved:

1. Customs documents are first scanned and OCR (optical character reader) to editable text documents.
2. The documents are then proof-read for spelling and formatting errors.
3. Keywords for each documents are indexed together with the text from the documents to enable word
search on tax reference document as well as keywords associated to the document.
4. Documents are then published though MECIS Web server

System Architecture

Details of the proposed system architecture is in Appendix 2. Primary components consists of:
Communication infrastructure
Network and security firewall
MECIS Web/Application