In the effort of becoming a populist especially to the perception of the younger Malaysians, UMNO Youth Head YB Tuan Hj Khairy Jamaluddin criticised Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) decision to limit the subsidy scheme for the smart phones’ rebate.
No need to cap smartphone rebates, says Umno Youth
• Dis 28, 12 2:23PTG
Umno Youth today weighed into the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) move to limit the RM200 rebate for smartphones priced below RM500, describing it as unnecessary.
“It is not needed to have a price cap for the smartphone rebate,” said Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin in a Twitter posting to Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Rais Yatim.
However, Khairy (left) sought to parry criticism against the government prompted by the cap, pointing out that there was no mention of the smartphones prices that would be entitled to the rebate when first announced.
The Budget 2013 speech only mentioned the youths’ income that would qualify for the smartphone rebate, not the price of the smartphones, he said.
Echoing similar sentiments is Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) senior officer Norizan Sharif.
“If want to give a RM200 rebate, then just give it to all smartphones. The RM500 limit will only make people angry,” he said in his Twitter posting.
Right royal info age mess-up
He added that if there had been a plan for such a ceiling, it should have been revealed from the beginning.
“People feel cheated. That was not the spirit of Budget 2013. That is why people are angry,” he said in another posting.
Netizens though have not taken kindly to the surprise cap, mocking the rule on Twitter.
The MCMC had yesterday had defended the move, stating that those who could afford smartphones worth more than RM500 were not in the intended category for the rebate.
The commission had since announced a list of 23 smartphones worth under RM500 entitled to the rebate.
Under the scheme, dubbed ‘Youth Communications Package’, RM300 million is allocated for the rebate on a first-come-first-served basis which can cater to 1.5 million eligible youths with an income of less than RM3,000 before the fund is depleted.
According to MCMC, outlets participating in the scheme will carry the “Pakej Komunikasi Belia” logo.
This was MCMC’s press release on the subject matter, dated yesterday
Smartphone RM200 Rebate for Youth and RM1,000 Grant for Online Entrepreneurs to Start on 1 January 2013: MCMC
Cyberjaya: 27 December, 2012 — Youths aged 21 to 30 will be able to start applying for the RM200 rebate off selected 3G smartphones from celco nominated registered dealers. Applications for the Youth Communication Package (YCP) (or Pakej Komunikasi Belia (PKB)), under the National Broadband Initiative; can be made by registering online at http://nbi.skmm.gov.my/ starting from 1 January 2013. The scheme is on a first-come-first served basis and will be for the first 1.5 million eligible youths who may claim their smartphones while stocks last.
Whilst the Youth Communication Package is a scheme implemented by the celcos, this initiative, coordinated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), was announced by the Prime Minister as part of Budget 2013 tabled in September this year to encourage more youths especially those in rural areas to enjoy the nation’s broadband facilities.
Youths who qualify for the RM200 rebate will be able to purchase ‘selected’ 3G smartphones costing up to RM500 from selected dealers and agents appointed by service providers. With the rebate, they are expected to pay no more than RM300 to own a new 3G smartphone.
“The idea is to spread the incentive across to those who do not yet use smartphones. We really want to help those who cannot afford to change phones to upgrade from their old 2G phones to a basic 3G smartphone. Those who can afford phones priced above RM500 are really not in the intended category or target market. Some of those phones can reach prices of over RM2,500 without contract. A RM200 rebate does not even make a dent but if the phone is priced at RM500, a RM200 rebate goes a long way. Again, the target is the lower income group and the youths,” said MCMC Chairman, Dato’ Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, in refuting speculations that the RM500 price limit was low.
He added, “from studies conducted by MCMC, over 90% of users are in the prepaid segment. Celcos don’t provide smartphone incentives in this segment, they only give mobile phone ‘incentives’ for postpaid contracts.”
Additionally, as to the criticism on the phones out there, there are over 20 models of branded phones which are 3G enabled unlike the allegations made by certain quarters. (Please refer to the following list of smartphones available for this package.)
The participating celcos and mobile virtual network operator (MVNOs) will offer no less than five (5) and perhaps up to 10 or 12 models under the initiative via their dealership outlets. Members of the public should look out for the “Pakej Komunikasi Belia” logo that will be displayed on banners and buntings at these outlets. They should also check websites of the service providers for the list of smartphones and participating dealership outlets.
Meanwhile, owners of small online businesses between the ages of 18 and 65 will be able to start applying for the Get Malaysian Business Online (GMBO) RM1,000 grant starting on 1 January 2013 also by registering online at http://nbi.skmm.gov.my/. Small online business entrepreneurs who have registered websites for example, .com.my, .my, and fulfilled all the terms and conditions, will receive RM1,000 grant from MCMC. The money will be credited directly into the successful applicants’ local bank account. It is expected that up to a maximum of 50,000 eligible entrepreneurs of small online businesses will apply for the grant.
For more details on these two programmes, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are posted online in the MCMC website.
The list (in alphabetical order) of smartphones that will be offered are as follows:
1) Alcatel 993D
2) Alcatel OneTouch Glory 2
3) Alcatel OneTouch Inspire 2
4) The Buzz Phone
5) HTC Wildfire
6) Huawei Ideos X3
7) LG Optimus L3
8) Ninetology Black Pearl II
9) Ninetology Palette
10) Nokia 2730
11) Nokia 7230
12) Nokia Asha 305
13) Nokia Asha 308
14) Nokia Asha 311
15) Nokia C2-03
16) Nokia Lumia 610
17) Samsung Galaxy Chat
18) Samsung Galaxy Mini
19) Samsung Galaxy Pocket
20) Samsung Galaxy Y
21) Sony Xperia Tipo
22) ZTE Acqua
23) ZTE V790
1) The above is as at 26 Dec 2012 and the models list will be updated from time to time in the Service Provider’s website;
2) The brand, model and quantity offered may differ amongst different Service Providers.
The common sense to limit the subsidy for 3G smartphone is simple; it would provide more spread for Malaysian youths to afford the 3G phones. Not many Malaysian youths in that age are able to afford 3G smartphones which have the current retail price of more than RM 1,000.00. Probably to those who are employed in good paying jobs but how about the majority of those who are still in their rural socio economy structure.
The list is rather comprehensive for more Malaysian Youths are being provided with the opportunity to be connected into the world from wherever they are, through 3G connections. With a RM 200.00 subsidy for a RM 500.00 3G smartphone, more youths are accessible to the net RM 300.00 phone affordability band.
There is the universal argument for persons who can afford should not received any subsidies. Hence, rebates or subsidies should not be offered to youths from better background or affluent communities, who can afford the more expensive upmarket 3G smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy Notes II, S III or iPhone 5.
So, actually by setting the lower price of RM500, the market is being forced to reduce the price of all more expensive smartphones. It also means the vendors are not able to pocket more for themselves. Government subsidies are not designed for them but the benefit of the bigger majority. The irony of that would be, they get to make more money from the more expensive smartphones and there is no certainty they have not overpriced the models or padded the cost of the phones.
The fact is that the poorer masses who don’t have access to 3G connectivity, who currently don’t tweet, don’t Facebook or actively not on any other social media networks for the reason that they have no smartphones, will never join the haves and will remain have nots. Based on MCMC Handphone Users Survey, about 89% of Malaysia market is prepaid. They are the income group of below RM 5,000.00 per month.
It is expected that majority of Malaysian youths are within this group.
Khairy should lead UMNO Youth to be more productive in making the Malaysian Youths understand the rationale of Federal Government subsidies, especially tailored for this group, instead of making populist statements. Pandering as the populist’s tone and connotation just propagated the fact that he is more interested to be a politician rather than serving the bigger agenda, to move the Malaysian Youths forward.
Probably, UMNO Youth should be working towards making more smartphone contents for the Malaysian Youths. This is an opportunity for Khairy to get successful programs initiated and generated BN Youth such as the BN Youth Career Fairs and BN Youth Volunteers to have their own dedicated Apps for the growing 3G users amongst the Malaysian Youths. Moreover, BN Youth Cyber Team already gaining grounds in their cybersphere engagements.
If Khairy still interested to play his populist role, then he should use UMNO Youth to pressure the Minister of Information, Culture and Communication Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim Ph.D to demand better and uninterrupted services from the cellular communication (Celco) and high speed broadband (HSBB) providers. This will augment the Malaysian Youths’ connectivity into the world via cyberpshere.
*Updated Saturday 29 December 0300hrs