28/12/2012, The Star
PETALING JAYA: The Government's plan in giving out RM200 rebate for smartphones worth less than RM500 next year is to convert non-smartphone users to bridge the digital divide.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi said that the rebate is not targeted at those who want to buy expensive phones.
“We really want those with the old second generation mobile phones to migrate to a basic 3G smartphone.
“These are the people who generally want to buy a smartphone, but they cannot afford one,” he said.
He added that the rebate should also serve only those who aren't earning much, referring to the criteria that the rebate is only applicable for those earning less than RM3,000.
“If you can buy a RM2,000 smartphone, you're not the person we want to help. If you can afford this kind of phone, would you want a RM200 rebate?” he asked.
According to the Hand Phone Users Survey 2011 published by the MCMC, 89.6% handphone users polled earn less than RM3,000. At the same time, 87.3% handphone users surveyed are still using normal phones without smartphone capabilities.
The rebate is also only allowed for Malaysians between the ages of 21 and 30.
Sharil added that at last count, there are 20 smartphone models from seven manufacturers which cost less than RM500 in retail price, with some of them being globally renowned brands.
When checked, Samsung also offers three smartphone models priced less than RM500 including the popular Samsung Galaxy Y.
With the total allocation for the rebate placed at RM300mil, serving 1.5 million youths as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when tabling the 2013 budget, Sharil expected for the entire sum to be used.
He also said that there will be mechanisms put in place to ensure that people don't abuse the system, and those interested in the rebate should pre-register themselves on their website first at www.skmm.gov.my.