Merger of TMnet and Jaring to create an ISP monopoly against the interests of Malaysian netters, the objective of promoting highest-possible Internet take-up rate as well as going against Internet culture of diversity and multiplicity of ISPs in other IT-advanced countries
- to Selangor DAP State and Branch leaders on the issues and challenges of the next general election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Malaysian Internet community is rather alarmed at the 2004 Budget announcement of the merger of the TMnet and Jaring to create an ISP (Internet Service Provider) monopoly which is against the interests of Malaysian netters, the objective of promoting highest-possible Internet take-up rate as well as going against the Internet culture of diversity and multiplicity of ISPs in other IT-advanced countries.
In the 2004 Budget, the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced that Telekom Malaysia will reduce the Internet access charges to ensure wider access to the Internet at low cost as well as to promote e-commerce through wider and cheaper access to broadband Internet.
He said Telekom Malaysia will provide 50 per cent discount for the industrial and commercial package, beginning with 30 per cent for phase one and a further 20 per cent for phase two. For other users, a 30 per cent reduction will be given for consumer broadband Internet charges.
It would appear that TMnet has been taken completely by surprise by Mahathir’s announcement, as the Telekom vice-president for corporate strategy and planning Abdul Majid Abdullah said it will be several weeks before they roll out the new rates. (Malay Mail 13.9.03)
What is even more disappointing is that there are no plans to reduce the current charges on the existing dial-up rates for home users to access the Internet – an omission which should be removed without any delay if the government is serious about promoting low-cost Internet access as distinct from broadband Internet access.
MPs should fully reflect in their debate on the 2004 Budget the concerns of the Malaysian Internet community that the forced merger of TMnet and Jaring, giving TMnet a virtual ISP monopoly, will not lead to “wider and more efficient Internet services”, and in particular the Malaysian blogs on this issue, such as from Malaysia’s IT whizz-kid, Dinesh Nair:
Malaysia’s boast to make the quantum leap to become an IT power will remain a dream so long as government leaders and key institutions of the state are incapable of developing the IT culture and mindset.
Yesterday and today, the Parliament website has again closed down for the weekend, demonstrating its steely determination to reject the 24/7 concept of cyberspace of being accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year – and being strictly bound to the five or six-day work-week, shutting down during the weekends. With such a parliamentary website, are MPs qualified to debate IT issues in the first place?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman