Malaysia needs a Communications and Multimedia Minister who has the love and passion to overcome the poor state of Internet infrastructure in the country rather than to be the chief propagandist for Najib to fight the Prime Minister’s political survival battle

Malaysia needs a Communications and Multimedia Minister who is more concerned about the poor state of Internet infrastructure in the country than to be the chief propagandist for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to fight the Prime Minister’s political survival battle.

It has been four days since the release of the Second Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet (SOTI) Report by Akamal Technologies Inc, the global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, showing that Malaysia is ranked poorly at 70th place worldwide and lags behind Sri Lanka and Thailand in average internet speed.

Malaysia registers an average Internet speed of 5.0 megabits per second (Mbps), which is a 17 per cent year-on-year improvement to broadband speed, but is still five ranks below Sri Lanka which registered a 50 per cent year-on-year improvement to bump up its average speed to 5.3 Mbps.

Thailand ranked 42nd overall with average connection speeds of 8.6 Mbps

In the region, Malaysia is also slower than Australia (7.8Mbps), New Zealand (8.4 Mbps), Taiwan (10.6 Mbps), Singapore (12.7 Mbps), Japan (16.3 Mbps), Hong Kong (17 Mbps) and South Korea (23.1 Mbps).

The top-three countries on the global ranking are all from Asia, with South Korea topping the list with an average connectivity speed of 23.1 Mbps.

Hong Kong was second with an average speed of 17.0 Mbps, followed by Japan which averaged at 16.4 Mbps.

Singapore – which ranked 14th with an average speed of 12.7 Mbps – however, recorded the highest global peak connection speed at 108.3 Mbps.

The global rank for peak connection speeds was also dominated by Asian countries which filled out the top-five spots, with Hong Kong behind Singapore with a peak connection speed of 94.8 Mbps, followed by South Korea (83.3 Mbps), Japan (75.1 Mbps) and Taiwan (74.5 Mbps).

Malaysia’s peak connection speed topped out at 36.5 Mbps, placing it 57th globally and behind Thailand which ranked 20th with peak speeds of 51.5 Mbps.

Malaysia’s broadband adoption also lags behind its Asian neighbours, settling in 72nd place internationally with 55 per cent of its population with access to speeds of above 4 Mbps.

Comparatively, Sri Lanka – which is in the top-50 for broadband adoption – has provided access to connection speeds above 4 Mbps to 77 per cent of its population.

The top-five Asian counties under this category have provided connections speeds of above 4 Mbps to at least 90 per cent of their population – South Korea (96 per cent), Thailand (95 per cent), Hong Kong (93 per cent), Taiwan (90 per cent), Japan (90 per cent).

The percentage of Malaysians with access to speeds above 10Mbps, however, is far lower at 4.5 per cent, while only one per cent of the Internet connection speed in Malaysia above 15 Mbps.

Globally, only the top-10 countries have provided high-speed connectivity to at least 50 per cent of their population.

South Korea again leads the world in this category with 75 per cent of its population surfing the Internet at speeds above 10 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong (62 per cent), Switzerland (60 per cent), the Netherlands (60 per cent), Japan (60 per cent), Romania (57 per cent), Bulgaria (54 per cent), Sweden (53 per cent), Belgium (53 per cent) and Singapore (50 per cent), the only Southeast Asian country to make the top 10.

The new Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak should be very concerned about these latest statistics about our Internet infrastructure which show Malaysia in a very poor light when compared to other countries which will have great repercussions on our economic growth potentials with the advent of the new economy, and even more serious, highlights Malaysia’s fall from the frontline of the information technology powers which was the motive for the introduction of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) two decades ago!

One would have expected Salleh to be very occupied with blueprints, announcements, statements or even blogs as to how Malaysia is to return to the front-line of information technology powers as envisaged two decades ago with the launching of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) which was announced at the time as “gift to the world”, but Salleh been conspicuously unconcerned about Malaysia’s poor Internet infrastructure.

Salleh appeared to be only interested in his blog and FaceBook, busy with his new “toy” and Cabinet assignment to be Najib’s chief propagandist to fight the Prime Minister’s political survival battle.

In the past three days, Salleh had penned at least four blog pieces, defending Najib and attacking in particular former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir, when as Minister for Communications and Multimedia, he should be brainstorming with his IT experts on the proper response to the Akamai Second Quarter 2015 SOTI Report so as to upgrade Malaysia’s Internet infrastructure after the poor statistics when compared with other countries.

If Salleh is Najib’s best choice of a chief propagandist to fight his propaganda war to survive his political trials and tribulations, Najib should appoint Salleh as a chief propagandist, (even replacing anyone of the 10 redundant Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office), but Malaysia needs a suitable person to be Minister for Communications and Multimedia who has the understanding and passion to make Malaysia an Information Technology power and leverage the powers of information technology for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister should be tasked with the responsibility to fully develop the nation’s communications and multimedia infrastructure, and not to be solely concerned about Najib’s political survival whose chief Ministerial responsibility is to write blogs and FaceBook pieces in praise of Najib.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah