POOR broadband Internet connectivity is affecting the business operations of manufacturers in the state, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Perak chairman Datuk Gan Tack Kong said
Gan said its members rely on the internet to submit documents to government for online payments, banking, commerce, communications with oversea customers, and uploading and downloading files or information.
“The problem with weak Internet and high-speed connectivity is still a major concern to FMM members in Perak.
“We are of the view that industrial areas need to be prioritised for the second phase of high-speed broadband rollout in Perak,” he said.
“Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) must expedite the long waiting times for high-speed broadband rollout and set a competitive price,” he said during his speech at the 47th Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Perak branch annual dinner last Wednesday.
Gan said a survey of 120 members conducted by FMM in 10 states, including Perak, showed that Internet speeds are perceived to have worsened from over the last year.
“High-speed broadband penetration is only at 22% for our industrial members.
“About 57% of the survey’s respondents noted that speeds were below 70% of what was subscribed for while other complained that high-speed broadband was not available in their areas,” he said.
“While TM contends that industries in Perak are not prepared to pay for higher connectivity for high-speed broadband, this is understandable from the business perspective as it will only add to the cost of doing business and worse still, they are not getting value for money,” he added.
Gan also proposed to revamp the Perak State and Singapore Manufacturers Association (SMA) Business Council.
“An agreement was supposed to be signed between the state government and the SMA in 2011 but did not materialise due to some administrative issues.
“We are of the view that the agreement between SMA and the state government will provide the platform for collaboration as well as generate activities and programmes beneficial to the business community in Perak and Singapore,” he said.
“One such proposal is for the industry groups to explore export opportunities using Singapore as a gateway. Efforts could also be made to attract investors from Singapore to Perak in niche markets,” he added.
Gan also suggested setting up a state economic council, similarly to the National Economic Council.
“We believe the establishment of such a state council can provide a fresh, independent perspective in transforming Perak from middle-income economy to high-income economy.
“I recall in 2005, the state had established a council known as the Perak State Economy Action Council, which was chaired by the mentri besar and had members from various trade organisations,” he said.
“Given the current economic situation, the reactivation of this council is timely and will serve as a tool to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors to increase our domestic and global competitiveness,” he added.
In his speech at the event, Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir agreed with Gan that the people of Perak should be given access to high-speed broadband services.
“Why deny our accessibility to high speed Internet?
“I’ve been very vocal too on this matter and have stressed the need for high-speed internet services for the people in Perak be given priority,” he said.
Zambry said the state has progressed and prospered.
“We must stay focused to overcome all obstacles to keep progressing.While we focus on today, we must also plan for the future. We want the state’s wealth to be distributed equally and enjoyed by the people,” he said.
He said Perak attracted 1,161 manufacturing projects valued at RM25.7bil last year.
“About 61.9% or RM15.9bil came from domestic investors while the rest were foreign,” Dr Zambry said.
“The investments were in electrical and electronics, rubber products, food manufacturing and other sectors that have generated 134,425 employment opportunities,” he added.
In his speech, FMM vice-president Datuk Andy K.H. Seo said 15 new manufacturing projects valued at RM423.6mil in the first five months of this year indicate the continued attractiveness of Perak to investors.
He urged Zambry to continue pushing for the development of a natural gas project to supply gas to manufacturers in the Kinta Valley.
“This project is very close to the heart of manufacturers.
“The supply of gas will be important in attracting new investors,” he said.
“We understand the state is looking into the matter and we hope Dr Zambry can use his good office to assist us with federal funding for the project under the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he added.