(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Telekom Malaysiaís confirmation that it is close to acquiring state-owned Internet Service Provider Jaring to emerge as as the number one internet-service provider in the country is not good news for the promotion of internet penetration in the country.
What the country needs is to have more Internet Service Providers so that internet users have greater choice, better and cheaper service, especially as TMNet had never been serious in providing quality and cheap service and is less user-responsive and oriented than Jaring.
In its Asia-Pacific Telecommunications Indicators 2000, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reported on Malaysiaís low Internet penetration rate of 6.9% as compared to the average of 23.7% registered by Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan and the 22.9% recorded for Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said recently that the number of Internet users in the country is expected to increase from the current 6% of the population to 25% over the next five years.
This is clearly a most unsatisfactory target for internet penetration for the country, aiming to achieve in five yearsí time an Internet penetration rate presently enjoyed in Singapore, if Malaysia is serious in wanting to take the quantum leap into the information society.
If Malaysia does not want to learn from Singapore, it should then learn from Ireland, which has achieved more than 40 per cent of Irish people having access to the Internet, up from 33 per cent last year and just 5 per cent four years ago.
From TMNetís service track-record, Telekomís acquisition of Jaring should be opposed and it will not serve the purpose of promoting greater internet penetration rate in the country to ensure that Malaysia can be in the front rank of information societies in the world.