PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (pic) has challenged the statement by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, questioning whether Malaysians really preferred slower broadband packages.
"I read that there are a wide range of Internet speeds that Malaysians can choose from, and that 71% of Malaysian Internet users prefer the slower Streamyx broadband," said the former Cabinet minister in a Facebook post Tuesday.
"Oh dear, really? And we want to be a developed economy by 2020, a first-world country which has to be innovation-driven? What and who were sampled or interviewed?" she said.
On Monday, Salleh said most Malaysians chose to pay less for slower Internet speeds instead of spending more on fast connections.
"Actually, there are a wide range of Internet speeds that Malaysians can choose from but about 71% of Malaysian Internet users prefer the slower Streamyx broadband package that offers speeds of between 384 Kbps to 1 Mbps," said Salleh in a blog post.
Salleh pointed out that even though higher broadband speeds were available, the majority of customers subscribed to the cheaper and slower packages.
"In Singapore and Thailand the minimum speeds range from 4-5 Mbps. In Malaysia it is only 384 Kbps. Of course we can also do this for Malaysia.
"We can increase the minimum Internet speed to, say, 5 Mbps and force Malaysians to buy this higher-speed package. But that would mean the cost would be higher as well and Internet usage will be available to only those who can afford to pay the higher cost," said Salleh.
He pointed out that Malaysians could choose a 20 Mbps package if they wanted higher Internet speeds.
"However, most Malaysians would not opt for this and would still prefer the cheaper and slower speed Internet. So in the end it all boils down to affordability and Malaysia offers affordable Internet to those who want it and higher speed Internet to those where money is not a problem," said Salleh.
Responding to Salleh, Rafidah added that it was embarrassing if the world has the perception that most Malaysians prefer the slower option and that the Government was happy with that.
"Why not continue to look east to Korea and Japan to see the advancements there? Investors everywhere want the fastest broadband Internet speed possible on par with what they are used to.
"Our own people want that too, especially people who recognize the benefits of super-fast facilities. And our young who are information and communication technology savvy practically demand it!" said Rafidah.