Government Mulls Online Driver’s License Registration

Less than a week after taking over the Transport Ministry, Sun Chanthol has established a committee to move more services online, including the process for applying for driver’s licenses, officials said on Monday.

Preap Chanvibol, director of the ministry’s transportation department, said the committee was formed Friday and would focus on making better use of the internet.

Moving the license registration process online, Mr. Chanvibol said, was just one of several issues being discussed.

“That is also a part of discussions, but I cannot give any specifics yet—such as how the process would be organized—until the discussion has ended in results,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Pheng Sovicheano explained that the committee was weighing the pros and cons of an online registration system for both users and the government.

“For example, people in rural areas probably do not have the ability or enough knowledge to access the online system, and so they will probably have to use existing services,” Mr. Sovicheano said, adding that a web-based system would drastically reduce the opportunity for graft.

“There would not be face-to-face meetings between applicants and issuers [of licenses], and so there would be no under-the-table money,” he said.

Mr. Chanthol, the spokesman noted, had moved the business registration process online while at the Commerce Ministry, which he headed until last week, when he was moved as part of a cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said that while he had not heard about the new Transport Ministry committee, he did not think an online license registration system would be practical.

“It is not really appropriate, given that an online system would likely require credit cards for payment, which most Cambodians do not have,” he said.

Currently, drivers of commercial vehicles, cars and motorbikes with engines larger than 125cc are required to hold a driver’s license, which costs about $20 and takes up to a month to obtain.

(Additional reporting by Peter Ford)

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