Rahmah p-hailing package in Sabah must come with commitment to Internet quality, say users

KOTA KINABALU: The Rahmah p-hailing Internet package will help reduce the cost of operating in the gig economy, but there is a need for this package to include a commitment to Internet quality, especially for riders and drivers in Sabah.

A rider, Awang Naseeb Awang Basir, 21, said p-hailing and various other activities in the gig economy highly depend on the Internet, and the absence of quality Internet would certainly hinder these economic activities.

“Unlike in Peninsular Malaysia, the Internet in Sabah is widely known to be of poor quality. Therefore, the p-hailing package must come with a commitment to Internet quality, like specifying minimum or maximum speeds, to ensure that telecommunications companies (telcos) are committed to helping us in this p-hailing sector,” he told Bernama.

The public university student from Tuaran said he spends about RM50 to RM60 a month on the Internet, so the p-hailing package priced at RM33 per month could save him RM17 to RM27, with a monthly income of RM1,000 to RM2,000.

On Tuesday (Jan 24), Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil launched the Rahmah p-hailing package, offering Internet service at RM33 per month with a 40GB data plan.

Meanwhile, driver Mohd Fardaus Asman, 24, that the gig economy's reliance on quality Internet has led to its rapid growth in major cities like Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, and Tawau, but it was not the case in rural areas with less coverage.

“This is why the telcos’ commitment to Internet quality in the package is necessary, so as to ensure that the quality of internet in Sabah is not concentrated only in certain areas, while other areas are left behind,” said Fardaus, who hails from Tenom.

Darren Tan Zhi Hei, 28, on the other hand, is willing to spend more than RM150 a month for the best internet package because he uses the Internet for various tasks in p-hailing, which can earn him over RM3,000 a month.

“It's not just about using the platform's app; it's about using many others, especially for navigation. It's difficult when the Internet is bad and cuts off, and we don’t know where to go to pick up or drop off passengers, especially in areas we are unfamiliar with. A cheap package is good, but poor Internet quality is also a problem,” said Darren, who is from Beaufort.

Therefore, he said the government should discuss with the telcos to provide an internet subscription package with a quality commitment that can meet the demands of Sabah, in addition to striving to improve quality through various initiatives such as the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela).

Sabah West Cost Wise Consumer Association president David Chan said that it is hard to see the positive effects of cheap Internet packages in Sabah as the quality of Internet there has yet to reach a satisfactory level.

“Unsatisfactory internet service will certainly become a major constraint in this effort, so we hope more infrastructure, like telecommunication towers, will be built in rural areas to improve communication and internet quality in Sabah,” he said.- Bernama

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Telcos , Rahmah , p-hailing , Internet package


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