Smartphone rebate only via 'selected dealers'

Those who qualify for the RM200 smartphone rebate proposed in Budget 2013 will only be able to obtain their discount from "selected dealers".

"You can go to selected dealers registered with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to get the rebate," Finance Ministry secretary-general Mohd Irwan Siregar Abdullah said yesterday.

Bernama had reported that the little-known organisation, the Malaysian Mobile Phone Owners Association, had urged the MCMC to appoint selected agents for the sale of smartphones to youths who qualify for the rebate.

Association president Mohd Ali Ibrahim said this is to avoid retailers selling imitation smartphones or raising prices indiscriminately to rake in profits.

The government is allocating RM300 million for the rebate, which is available to youths aged 21 to 30 and who are earning less than RM3,000, for the purpose of expanding Internet accessibility.

Abolishing PTPTN will ‘create shock’

On a separate matter, Mohd Irwan said the Pakatan Rakyat’s proposal in its alternative budget to abolish the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) will create a shock to the economy.

"There is RM31 billion (of outstanding debts) in there. It will shock (the economy). But we have discussed this a lot and we feel if one borrows, one must pay," he said at a forum on the Budget in Kuala Lumpur last night.

He added that instead of writing off the loans, the government is giving a 20 percent discount to those who settle their loan in one go from Oct 1 to Sept 30, 2013 and a 10 percent discount to those who pay consistently.

"It (the discount) is a lot," he said at the forum organised by the Malaysian Economics Association and Universiti Malaya.

According to association president Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, the post-budget discussion has been held every year for more than 30 years and has attracted eminent speakers.

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