KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved the implementation of a RM21.6 billion national connectivity plan that gives both the urban and rural population equal access to the Internet in an effort to reduce the digital divide.
In announcing this today, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) would also benefit those who might otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in the digital economy, such as farmers, fishermen and the Orang Ali community.
“The government views NFCP as a crucial infrastructure project as well as a strategic effort to enhance the competitiveness of the country and the people of Malaysia in this digital age,” he said.
The NFCP five-year (2019-2023) plan, spearheaded by the ministry, will provide nationwide digital connectivity that is robust, pervasive, high-quality and affordable to all Malaysians, he said.
“In line with the government’s aspiration, the NFCP will bring together the people and businesses in its mission to develop the Malaysian digital economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), narrow the digital gap and generate a constructive environment for new technologies such as 5G,” he said.
Gobind also said the RM21.6 billion cost of implementing the NFCP, the official launch of which is expected to be in mid-September, will involve infrastructure projects in targeted areas that are expected to provide a positive boost to the country’s economy, especially to service providers, small contractors and suppliers.
“This amount will be funded through the provision of the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund, regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and commercially by the service provider.
“The methods of financing via the USP Fund that would be considered are in the form of full fund, matching fund or partial fund to eligible parties.
“These financing methods will help reduce the expenditure of the service provider and the cost savings will benefit consumers through the provision of affordable services,” he said.
Gobind said the government hoped that through the NFCP, more people and businesses would be able to enjoy the benefits and advantages of the digital economy not only within the country and regionally, but globally too.
“Among other things, Malaysians will be able to reap the benefits from digital education, e-health and e-sports services.
“The business community will stand to gain from e-commerce platforms, enabling them to penetrate new markets domestically and abroad.
“Overall, the government hopes that through the NFCP, the living standards of the people will improve and new business models will emerge, leading to more high-paying job opportunities and career prospects,” he said.
Gobind said a special task force chaired by the ministry and comprising related agencies would be set up to coordinate the construction of digital infrastructure in schools, police stations, hospitals and libraries. — Bernama