CYBERJAYA: The rebate for prepaid phone card users announced in Budget 2016 will only benefit Malaysian citizens and does not cover foreigners.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Salleh Said Keruak said the Government would not subsidise mobile phone charges for non-citizens.
He said the decision to give rebate to prepaid card users proved that the Government listened to the people’s requests and concerns.
“The rebates, which will be a shared responsibility to be paid by the Government and telecommunication companies, are meant for Malaysian citizens.
“Foreign nationals will not be eligible for it,” he told reporters after opening a seminar on “The Role of New Media in Fighting Against Perception Terrorism” here yesterday.
He said that among the issues being sorted out include a mechanism to ensure that foreign users would not be given the rebate, time frame for it to be credited to users and the amount to be shared by the ministry and telcos.
When tabling the Budget, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that prepaid users would get rebates based on the amount of GST that they had paid, from Jan 1 to Dec 31 next year.
There are 33 million prepaid phone card service users in the country, who make up 80% of mobile phone users.
Out of this, an estimated five million are believed to be foreigners.
The minister said prepaid was still subject to GST but users would get a rebate and be able to use airtime equivalent to the amount paid. Citing an example, he said if a user paid RM10, 60 sen worth of airtime would be credited into the account.
“However, foreign users will not enjoy this. If they buy a RM10 prepaid card, their top-up value will only be worth RM9.40 after GST deduction,” said Dr Mohd Salleh.
Speaking at the launch of the seminar earlier, the minister labelled the manipulation of information through the new media, which results in character assassination, instability and chaos, as “perception terrorism”.
He said while there were laws and restrictions to tackle this, there must be efforts to empower the “silent majority” to make them realise the intentions and propaganda of the perpetrators.
“I want to remind the public to be wary of issues being spread by the social media. Don’t forward information if you are not sure of the source.
“More importantly, don’t be taken in by the games and manipulation of irresponsible parties, especially on issues that can threaten the country’s stability, peace and harmony,” said Dr Mohd Salleh.
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