Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Budget 2010: Goodies for IT?

The following are my comments quoted in an article by ZDNet Asia.

...however, not everyone were impressed by the IT-related goodies dished out by Najib's first national budget since assuming premiership. Opposition party, Democratic Action Party (DAP), noted that the government failed in its target to achieve 50 percent broadband penetration by 2008.

"And as Najib admits, [broadband penetration] lags at only 25 percent today," Tony Pua, the DAP's national publicity secretary, told ZDNet Asia. "The recent Oxford-Cisco Broadband Quality study placed us at an embarrassing 48th out of 66 countries analyzed."

During his address Friday, Najib said Malaysia's broadband penetration rate was 25 percent, compared with Singapore's 88 percent, Japan's 64 percent and South Korea's 90 percent.

Pua said in an e-mail interview: "The high-speed broadband project is a recycled project announcement as it has been in existence since 2007. The fact that the prime minister has to include this project again in his 2010 budget speech shows a complete lack of ideas as to how we are to achieve the revised 50 percent goal by 2010."

He added that the tax relief on broadband subscription benefits only some 1.8 million or so tax payers, who are among the higher income group and hence, are likely already broadband users.

"What would have [been more effective] would be direct grants or subsidies to new subscribers, which have not signed up for broadband accounts," he said.
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