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Internet package for B40 still too pricey, govt told

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations says the present reduction is in fact only 20%.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
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A man stands in the corridor outside his unit at a block of low-cost flats in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur.
A man stands in the corridor outside his unit at a block of low-cost flats in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur.

The government has been urged to review its fixed line internet package for those in the B40 group which some say is still too expensive for those in the target income bracket to afford.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) said the offer price of RM69 was in fact more suited to those in the middle-income or M40 group. 

Fomca CEO Saravanan Thambirajah also said that the figure had yet to take into account the sales and services tax (SST), which would push the amount to more than RM70 per month. 

"This reduction is only 20% as the market price is now RM89," he said to MalaysiaNow. 

"I think the telecommunications companies can go lower. It depends on their corporate social responsibility." 

The Fixed Internet Broadband Unity Package was announced by Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil on Jan 31. 

It was aimed at assisting the B40 group, veterans, and those with disabilities through the provision of 30Mbps internet speed on a subscription contract for 24 months. 

While the initiative was hailed as an effort to help those in the low-income bracket, Saravanan said the idea of setting contract terms could end up burdening them instead. 

He said many in the B40 group did not earn a fixed income, which made it difficult for them to commit to such an expenditure.  

"What will happen in one or two months when their income is threatened and they can no longer afford to keep paying?" he said. 

"If they are penalised, where will they find the money to pay the penalty?"

Saravanan also urged the government to focus on expanding internet access throughout the country, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. 

He said many places in the interior were still without fibre connection internet access, resulting in internet speeds much lower than those in the developing parts of the peninsula. 

"The cost of internet in Malaysia as a whole is also still quite expensive compared to that of neighbouring countries according to speed," he said. 

"I think we could lower the price some more, from 20% to 30% compared to other countries." 

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