Minister: M'sians can't afford higher speed Internet

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The complaints of slow Internet speed in Malaysia is because the people cannot afford higher speed Internet, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said today.

In a blog posting tonight, Salleh rebutted DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang's quip that Salleh is unconcerned about Malaysia's poor Internet speed which was slower than other South-East Asian countries such as Thailand and Singapore.

Salleh said 71 percent of Malaysian Internet users preferred the slower Streamyx broadband package that offered speeds of between 384 (kilobyte per seconds (Kbps) to 1 megabyte per seconds (Mbps).

This was their preference over much higher speeds albeit more expensive packages offered by the Internet service providers (ISPs)

"In Singapore and Thailand and elsewhere the minimum speeds range from 4 to 5 Mbps. In Malaysia it is only 384 Kbps.

"Of course, we can also do this for Malaysia. We can increase the minimum Internet speed to, say, 5 Mbps and force Malaysians to buy this higher-speed package.

"But that would mean the cost would be higher as well and Internet usage will be available only for those who can afford to pay the higher cost," he said.

Salleh added that Malaysia focussed on not only speed, but also on the coverage and affordability of the Internet to its people.

'PM's propagandist'

"We want to ensure that by 2020, at least 95 percent of Malaysians will have access to the Internet.

"And we also want to ensure that at least 50 percent of the urban areas and 20 percent of the rural areas have broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

Yesterday, Lim said that Salleh, who was newly minted as minister in July, was only interested in being Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's propagandist as opposed to doing his job in making sure Malaysia's information technology was up to date.

“One would have expected Salleh to be very occupied with blueprints, announcements, statements or even blogs as to how Malaysia is to return to the front-line of information technology powers.

"But Salleh has been conspicuously unconcerned about Malaysia’s poor Internet infrastructure,” Lim said yesterday.

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