KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia''s innovative effort to close the
digital divide among the people with the provision of one million 1Malaysia
laptops free of charge has now become a model to other countries taking a
The distribution of netbooks throughout the country began in June 2010 and
has now entered phase three which involved another 527,000 units.
Earlier this month, Thailand had also begun distributing its first 2,000
units from the target of a few hundred thousand tablets to year one students to
mark the commencement of its ''One Tablet Per Child'' (OTPC) project launched by
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinatwatra.
In this regard, Malaysia is in the forefront in the region to create a more
information technology literate society.
The initiative, a farsighted idea of the Ministry of Information
Communication and Culture was implemented by the Malaysian Communications and
Multimedia Commission (MCMC), an agency under the ministry in line with the
objective of creating a knowledgeable and high income society by 2020.
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Social observer Zainab Yusoff who is also a mother said she had never heard
of countries in the region other than Malaysia which gave free computers to its
people, at such a large scale in excess of one million units.
"I am proud because we are ahead on this matter which proved the government
under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is not
hesitant in making such a major investment to create quality human capital," she
told Bernama here today.
According to her, the government''s strategic plan towards a developed nation
by 2020 was backed by other concrete action such as the provision of supporting
infrastructure through broadband coverage.
The 1Malaysia netbook is an important project in support of the National
Broadband Initiative (NBI) and High Speed Broadband (HSBB) to achieve broadband
penetration of 75 per cent by 2015.
The initiative was launched by the Prime Minister on March 24 2010 involving
an allocation of 1.2 million netbooks to rural residents, school pupils and
institution of higher learning (IPT) students.
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A sum of RM1 billion was allocated to supply the laptops under the Universal
Service Provision (USP) fund set up under Section 204 of the Communications and
Multimedia Act 1998.
The four main objectives of USP were the provision of access to
communication to groups and individuals in areas with poor coverage, improving
usage of ICT in the community towards a knowledgeable society; contributing to
the social economic development of local communities and closing the digital
About 65 per cent of the computers were distributed to less fortunate
students with priority given to those in government or government aided schools
and university students without broadband subscription.
Apart from that, 35 per cent of the recipients comprised those from the low
income group, which was under RM3,000 in traditional villages and local
While in the urban areas, the provision of laptops was targeted at those
with household income under RM5,000.
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In the early stage of phase two, the government had distributed 123,500
units under phase one and 349,000 units under phase two.
The breakdown of netbook distribution according to states were Sarawak with
179,778 units, Sabah (172,632 units), Johor (102,585 units), Perak (85,524
units) and Kedah (81,380 units).
While Pahang received 78,627 units, followed by Kelantan (73,902 units),
Selangor (65,308 units), Terengganu (53,782 units), Negeri Sembilan (35,714
units), Melaka (32,527 units), Penang (18,270 units), Perlis (11,951 units) and
Federal Territory (8,020 units).
Apart from the government''s distribution of computers, the industry was also
involved in offering other incentives through service providers which the people
could contact directly on their eligibility.
This year, MCMC is projecting to improve household broadband penetration
from 62.9 per cent to 65 per cent.
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Several recipients of free netbooks described the government''s move as a
positive action especially to students who wanted to enrich themselves with
knowledge and information apart from technology and latest applications which
could be accessed through the gadgets provided.
Sekolah Menengah Teknik Kuantan student, Mohd Afiq Firdaus Azmat,17, said
before receiving the free 1Malaysia laptop, he used to patronise internet cafes
to complete his assignments as his parent could not afford to buy a computer.
National Parent-Teacher Association president Prof Madya Datuk Mohd Ali
Hassan said the 1Malaysia laptop project showed the government was indeed
farsighted to enable students acquire ICT technology faster to contribute to the
MHA SHS MNY CHW AO