Ninth Malaysia Plan
As the Ninth Malaysia Plan is being prepared to be presented in Parliament, quite a few people are curious on what is set to be revealed by our PM. How will it affect us as the normal layman on the street. Those of us working in the Government Department understand very well as we are part of the much talked Delivery System. If any parts of this machinery screw up, then it will lead delays in the delivery the much needed development projects or programs. For those in the private sector the 9 MP is an indicator of what the Government prority is. For the investors and banks it shows where the financial aspect will be focused on. The Ninth Malaysia Plan is set to be debated in Parliament after its presentation so if there is anything amiss, look for your nearest Member of Parliament and point out to them your views.
Sarawak is eager to know how much it is getting from the Federal Government for the next five years as the Ninth Malaysia Plan covers the year 2006 - 2010. This translates into Federal Government projects and programs which are to be implemented by the Federal Agencies in the State or how much is the allocation to given in the form of grants to the State Government Agencies.
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi has on several occassions indicated that most of the allocation will be given to the States that are considered backwards in the country based on the development indicators prepared by the Economic Planning Unit.
How the 9MP Affects Sarawak
Basically for the normal layman, the 9MP allocation from the Federal Government will give the State the amount of money to anable the State to continue its development agenda for the next five years (2006 - 2010). The relevant State Government Agencies, Departments and Ministries and the Federal Agencies in the State have already given their inputs and requests to their Federal counterparts in Putrajaya, on what needs to be done in Sarawak since last year. These inputs are gathered from 'on the ground' - requests (via the Yang Berhormats, the JKKKs, associations etc to the Resident & District Offices, while some are based on Studies and Plans at the Ministries and Agencies level). This is again screened by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister's Department (together with the State Planning Unit Sarawak giving input on Project Priority), which then will apportioned accordingly (subject to budget limit) to the various States. Though the earlier Economic Planning Unit Circular on the Ninth Malaysia Plan indicated an allocation of RM150 billion in total for the whole of Malaysia, many expect it to be more than that when the actual amount is revealed today.
Rough Sketch of the 9th Malaysia Plan Preparation Flow
So if in the Eighth Malaysia Plan we have seen various schools and hospitals being built, roads like the Miri Coastal Road and the Borneo Highway being constructed, the expansion of Kuching International Airport, Sibu and Miri Airport, the development of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak new campus, the upcoming Bakun Hydroelecric Dam and many more, it means that we have witnessed the successful implementation of the projects and plans - which benefits the State in a way - leading towards a better standard of living and better quality of life for all Sarawakians.
But hitches and glitches tend to happen as seen in the delay in the development of the Durin Bridge and the Bario Mini Hydro failure. This can also cost a wastage of those allocations as time is money and also the cause the frustration of the rakyat affected by these hiccups. These problems, however, can be used as a lesson in implementing the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
What should Internet users and future netpreneurs in the State watch out for? I would say that the allocation for the development of broadband infrastructure in the State (as incorporated in the National Broadband Plan). This would be interesting to watch as better infrastructure will mean better connectivity and a wider pool of audiences.
According to TMnet, as of August 2005 there are about 400,000 broadband customers, with about 30% in Selangor, 24.2% in Wilayah Persekutuan, 11.3% in Penang, 8% in Johor and 5.3% in Perak. As Sarawak is not in the list, it would mean that broadband penetration in the State would be around 5% or less. Taking into account Mr. Michael Lai's recent estimates that the broadband customers have grown to 500,000 in his comments with theedgedaily it would mean that Sarawak has around 25,000 to 30,000 broadband users (not inclusive of the TMnet Dial Up users). Sabah Daily Express reported that there are about 17,000 active broadband users in Sabah.
As of Feb 2006 TMnet reports there are 495,000 broadband users
Household Use of the Internet Survey (HUIS) 2005
Based on HUIS 2005 conducted by MCMC, a little over half of the survey's 5,000-odd respondents said they did not see the need to upgrade to broadband connections, and about four-fifths of the respondents said they did not have any intention to upgrade.
MCMC industry development general manager Bistamam Siru Abdul Rahman said the survey results indicated that 56.5% “did not see the need for broadband or are satisfied with their dialup connections,” and 81.4% “did not intend to migrate to broadband access.”
“There is a perceived ‘lack of need’ to upgrade amongst Internet users in this country. As long as there is no need to get into it, people just won’t,” he told reporters at media briefing recently.
Bistamam cited how it took some time for the older generation to accept new technology, such as the TV when it first came to Malaysians in the 1960s.
“It may take some time for broadband to be accepted too,” he said, adding that broadband access in the survey is defined as access only by xDSL (digital subscriber line) technology.
He said he is confident that once users overcome this initial resistance to upgrade to broadband technology and are able to derive benefits from such access, they would be “stuck to it.”
MCMC conducted HUIS 2005 to establish a profile of Malaysian Internet users and to address the “data gap” which the industry regulator said was missing from its database.
The survey – conducted between May 1 and June 30 and only in English – focused specifically on household users and excluded business and cybercafe customers.
The survey sampled a total of 4,925 nationwide users, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, and the response rate for the survey was about 76.5%, a rate comparable to surveys conducted in advanced economies, MCMC said.
Amongst the objectives of the survey were to determine the demographics, trends and patterns of the Internet users, as well as to try to ascertain if subscribers’ were willing to move from dialup to broadband access.
The Government, through the National Broadband Plan (NBP), aims to boost the broadband Internet access penetration rate to about 10% of the population by 2008. The plan, drafted by MCMC in 2003, aims to provide 2.7 million homes in Malaysia with broadband access by 2007.
However, industry observers have noted that while the country’s largest broadband Internet service provider, TM Net Sdn Bhd, has made some commendable attempts to increase its streamyx subscribers, Internet users in the country as a whole still do not see the need to upgrade because there is no compelling reason to do so.
“A few years ago, subscribers who wanted streamyx repeatedly lamented they couldn’t get the service as there was a lack of DSL ports serving certain localities.
“Today we see the reverse happening; despite having enough ports and capacity in urban areas, subscribers are not upgrading to streamyx.
“There seems to be a lack of the ‘pull factor’ – a compelling enough reason for more to jump onto the broadband bandwagon,” said an observer familiar with the matter.
Research firm IDC in April suggested that the Government give the NBP more visibility by promoting it “like a non-smoking campaign,” with regular messages in the media and on billboards.
Its research manager, Lee Huei Min, said broadband services have to evolve from “nice to have” to “must have,” in order for it to be more pervasive.
Koay Hock Eng, MCMC manager for industry research and analysis, said the survey indicated that besides not seeing the need to upgrade, about a fifth of the respondents indicated that they were not aware of the broadband service.
“About 23% of respondents said they were not aware of broadband and its benefits. There was also a small percentage of people interviewed who did not know the difference between broadband access and TM Net's streamyx service,” he said, adding that the two, in this survey, is essentially synonymous.
Koay urged service providers to review their promotional activities and ensure that they run advertisement campaigns that clearly espouse the benefits of broadband access and how it can enhance users’ Internet experience.
He said besides these two key indicators, 14.1% of respondents felt the cost of broadband was too high while 6.2% of the country did not have broadband coverage.
The survey noted that of the 18.6% of users who had intention to migrate to broadband access, 31.5% said they would do so in the next three months, while 14.3% said they would do it in six months.
HUIS 2005 also noted that there was no discernable difference between male and female surfers when it came to Internet use, with 50.2% of men and 49.8% of women using the Web.
A significant finding, said MCMC, was that 18.6% of Internet users were between the ages of 15 and 19, the highest percentage figure in any age group in the survey. The second highest figure was between the ages of 20 and 24 years (17.2%), followed by between 25 and 29 (12.5%).
Forty three per cent of surfers used the Internet for less than four hours, followed by 24.9% who surfed between four and eight hours, and 14.2% for between eight and 15 hours.
A majority of surfers (70.2%) get on to the Internet between 8pm and midnight, while only a small proportion (14.2%) login in between noon and 8pm.
The majority who surfed used e-mail (73.7%); followed by education/research activities (46.8%); finding information about goods and services (40.5%); downloading online newspapers/news/magazines (20.2%); and playing games/downloading software and music (19.9%).
Only 9.3% of Internet users purchased products or services through the Internet during the past three months. Among those who did so, airline tickets were the most popular purchase (43.8%), followed by books (15.6%), and music (6.8%).
The amount spent on these items were small, with 57.7% spending less than RM500; 20.7% between RM500 and RM1,000; and 6.8% between RM1,000 and RM1,500.
(Article in the Star Intech 9 Nov 2005)
Hopefully our small number of 27,000 broadband users can balloon up to a respectable number to enable us to benefit from the allocations for the National Broadband Plan. Rather than play a wait and see game, existing dial-up customers should see the benefits of using broadband. (Some reluctance to sign up is due to the many complaints about its stability and reliability). If this ias addressed and the existing broadband users try to promote or encourage their dial-up users to switch to broadband, we could see brighter days ahead.Operation Lipid Attack: Week 1
First weigh in.
79 Kg and going down. Wohooo..last week it was about 80.5 kg
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