By Yow Hong Chieh
KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — The prime minister’s announcement today that every adult Malaysian will be given a 1 Malaysia email account has triggered multiple online protests by those dead set against the RM50 million project.
Like the virtual protests that mushroomed after the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka tower was unveiled last year, the public has taken to social networking site Facebook to lash out against Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest 1 Malaysia exercise.
Several Facebook pages have been created by Malaysians wishing to vent their anger, with the most popular so far being “1M Malaysians Who Don’t Want Najib’s 1 Malaysia Email”.
The page, which was created anonymously, has attracted 2,022 followers as of 8.05 tonight.
Its fans are united in their disgust at what they see as yet more public funds being wasted on an unnecessary service.
“RM50 million for email?? existing MP published email also can’t reply efficiently, What level of confident such will improve the effective or efficiency in communication? 1malaysia only for who? actually?” said one fan.
“Please use OUR money in the correct way, upgrade our broadband, subsidy gasoline, remove credit card tax or whatsoever! We already have our own email account (gmail/yahoo/hotmail/etc) which is free, we no need 1Malaysia email account. Totally disappointed to your motto and actions,” said another fan.
A third said: “It’s astonishing how the gov is able to frequently come out with nonsensical plans to waste our money. Malaysia Boleh!!”
Yet another fan urged Malaysians to come up with “stupid and rude” usernames like “email@example.com“ or “firstname.lastname@example.org“ if the e-mail account was made mandatory.
It is not clear if the page was created by the same people behind the popular “1M Malaysians Reject 100-Storey Mega Tower” page, which has pulled in nearly 300,000 fans since its creation.
The 1 Malaysia e-mail project was also greeted with widespread derision on micro-blogging site Twitter, where #1malaysiaemail was the second-highest trending topic in Malaysia as of 8.05pm.
In addition to the #1malaysiaemail hashtag, terms like “RM50m” and “Tricubes” also made it to the list of Malaysia’s top 10 trending topics.
The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) has been forced to go on damage control since the announcement was made earlier this afternoon.
Pemandu has clarified that the government will not be financing the 1 Malaysia email account and that it would not be made compulsory.
But questions remain over how Tricubes Bhd, in danger of being delisted from Bursa Malaysia due to financial irregularities, will finance the project.
Najib announced today that all Malaysians aged 18 and above will be given secure 1 Malaysia e-mail accounts that will allow direct and secure communication between the public and the government.
The account is also part of a new one-stop web portal for government services, which will include social networking features as well as online bill payment and citizen application facilities.
The Malaysia Insider understands that the 1 Malaysia email service will use software from Microsoft, the company that now owns the free Hotmail account service.
The 1 Malaysia email service is part of Najib’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to achieve developed nation status by 2020.
He said today that the RM50 million investment will have a gross national income (GNI) impact of RM39 million up to 2015 and will enhance delivery of public services.