The affordability of broadband internet is only one of three areas that Malaysia is focusing on in developing its internet infrastructure, reiterated Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.
Salleh, who is under fire from DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, said the other two areas are coverage and speed.
Rebutting Lim, he said Malaysia is ahead of most Asian countries when it comes to coverage.
“Note the part where I said (yesterday), ‘Malaysia’s focus is speed, coverage and affordability.’ That means cost (affordability) is one point that I am looking at, which is also the point that Lim Kit Siang is talking about. So we are on the same page here.
“In Malaysia, our Internet penetration is 67 percent of the population. We are still below South Korea (92 percent), Brunei (75 percent), Japan (86 percent), Singapore (80 percent), and Taiwan (80 percent).
“However, we are definitely ahead of the rest of Asia,” he wrote in his blog today.
The tiff between Lim and Salleh started Sunday, when Lim (photo) in a press statement noted Malaysia ranks number 70 in the world on average internet speed, according to a report by Akamai Technologies Inc
He chided that Salleh should be more focused Malaysia’s poor internet infrastructure instead of being ‘Najib’s chief propagandist’ on his blog and Facebook account.
Salleh countered this by saying the slow average speed reported by Akamai is due to a high proportion of Malaysians opting for slower and cheaper broadband packages, even though higher speeds are available.
However, Lim said this only highlighted Salleh’s ignorance, since all countries also have different broadband speeds being offered at different price points.
“This is not the point, as the issue is that high internet speeds in Malaysia are too costly and unaffordable when compared to other countries when the minister's task is to make them affordable and popular,” Lim said in a statement.
In his blog post today, Salleh said Akamai’s report does not take into account of the fact that TM’s entry-level broadband (Streamyx) speeds that start at 386 kilobits per second (kbps).
“For example, 87 percent of (high speed broadband; i.e. UniFi) subscribers are for the lowest speed five megabits per second (Mbps) package and there are hardly any takers for the higher speed packages of 30 and 50 Mbps.
“So while I do not disagree with what Lim Kit Siang or Akamai said, we need to also take into consideration how the average speed of the Internet is calculated.
“When 71 percent of the users are in the entry-level 386 kbps category, then the overall average would be low,” he said.