The Week That Was: Tech to the rescue


  • The Week That Was
  • Monday, 30 Mar 2020

Telcos like Maxis and Digi announced some goodies for customers during MCO like free additional Internet data. — ANGELIN YEOH/The Star

When Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government will be implementing a nationwide movement control order (MCO) from March 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19, most Malaysians turned to tech to stay safe while enjoying their favourite food.

Companies like KFC, Pizza Hut, Foodpanda and Grab Malaysia now offer contactless delivery.

Their riders leave the orders at designated spots to avoid contact, and use hand sanitisers and face masks to protect themselves.

Users are also encouraged to opt for cashless payment to limit contact further.

Grab has allowed its e-hailing drivers to deliver food during MCO, as another way for them to improve their income, while meeting higher demand.

During MCO, food outlets are only allowed to operate as take-away services or offer delivery to customers. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarDuring MCO, food outlets are only allowed to operate as take-away services or offer delivery to customers. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

Telcos are also helping users stay at home by offering free data.

For example, users on all postpaid Maxis plans will get 3GB data, valid for 30 days, though this offer can only be redeemed once.

“There is no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times,” said Maxis CEO Gokhan Ogut in a statement.

“But we are also grateful to be in an era where technology is playing such a critical role in our lives, and we know that we can continue to leverage the power of technology and connectivity to help us overcome many challenges.”

Celcom postpaid and Xpax prepaid customers will get free unlimited access to WhatsApp (chat, voice and video call), as well as to Microsoft 365 apps from 8am to 6pm daily until April 14.

The telco said it is considering giving free Internet access to more productivity apps.

Meanwhile, Digi postpaid mobile and postpaid broadband users can redeem 1GB data daily to be used from 8am to 6pm through the MyDigi app – the offer has now been extended to April 14.

Unifi Mobile postpaid users also saw their LTE hotspot data increase from 10GB to a whopping 999GB during MCO, valid until April 14.

U Mobile is doubling the hotspot data quota for free for postpaid customers on Unlimited Hero P139 (50GB to 100GB), Hero P99 (30GB to 60GB), GX68 (5GB to 10GB) and GX50 (5GB to 10GB) for a limited time.

Since MCO came into effect on March 18, the Malaysia Internet Exchange (MyIX) stated it has recorded the highest peak for Internet traffic – 532Gbps (gigabits per second) compared to 500Gbps last year.

MyIX is an initiative under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and to date, it’s the country’s only non-profit national Internet exchange body.

Its chairman Chiew Kok Hin said the organisation is taking additional steps to keep up with the increase in Internet connectivity.

Chiew said it was also timely that MyIX is set to open two new nodes in Cyberjaya for more networks to join the Internet exchange.

Currently, two nodes are located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor and Kuching, Sarawak to complement the main nodes located at the AIMS Data Centre in Kuala Lumpur and CSF Building in Cyberjaya, Selangor.

“Our industry players are extremely committed toward uninterrupted connectivity and have upgraded their capacity in anticipation of traffic surges,” he said.

“In addition, since most Internet service providers (ISPs) and content distribution networks (CDNs) are directly peered with MyIX with sufficient capacity, the public should not be experiencing any degradation in Internet connectivity.”

MyIX explained that the nodes are access switches which let members and partners connect to ISPs, other members and content hosted by it.

“The nodes also ensure improved latency for interconnectivity with other networks. They would be instrumental in further enhancing the stability and performance of Internet connections, lowering connection costs while minimising traffic ‘bottlenecks’,” Chiew said.

MCMC is working together with PDRM to take action against individuals spreading fake news about Covid-19. — dpaMCMC is working together with PDRM to take action against individuals spreading fake news about Covid-19. — dpa

Meanwhile, MCMC with the cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) is taking action against those spreading fake news on Covid-19.

The regulatory body said in a statement that it and PDRM have recorded the statements of five people alleged to have spread fake news about Covid-19 at a number of locations in Perak and Penang.

The suspects are being investigated under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a one-year jail term, or both, if convicted.

As of March 23, MCMC said it has received 43 reports on fake news from the public and has identified 18 suspects.

Six people, including a local celebrity, have been charged in court under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code. If found guilty, they can be imprisoned for up to two years or fined, or both.

MCMC said it’s irresponsible and a crime for individuals or groups to spread fake news, especially with the country facing a Covid-19 pandemic.

The public is urged to verify any Covid-19-related information on the Sebenarnya.my portal or join the Telegram channel at bit.ly/3ae2e7W.

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