Salleh has beaten all Ministers to make the most stupid Ministerial statement, not only poorly researched but highlights total ignorance of his Ministerial responsibility apart from being Najib’s Chief Blogger

Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has beaten all Ministers to make the most stupid Ministerial statement, not only poorly researched but highlighted total ignorance of his Ministerial responsibility apart from being the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Chief Blogger.

When Salleh opened his blog statement insinuating that I may not be aware of the wide range of Internet speeds that Malaysian can choose from when I complained about the slow Internet speed in the country while his only concern since becoming the Communications and Multimedia Minister two months ago was to do propaganda work for the Prime Minister, he was actually highlighting his own ignorance.

This is because only a person who was not aware that Malaysians, and internet users in all countries, have a wide range of internet speeds to choose from depending on the cost they are prepared to pay, would have chosen to belabor this point when it was completely a non-issue!

This is not the point, as the issue is that high Internet speeds in Malaysia are too costly and unaffordable when compared to other countries when the Minister’s task is to make them affordable and popular.

Malaysians have a right to feel ashamed and angry that the government and in particular, the Minister in charge of internet infrastructure, had failed them when Malaysia was the pioneer in jumping on the Internet bandwagon in Asia launching the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) two decades ago to be an IT superpower but we are now behind even ASEAN countries in internet infrastructures and average internet speed.

A test carried out in March/April 2014 on the average ASEAN internet speed reported the following results:

Philippines 3.6 Mbps
Laos 4.0 Mbps
Indonesia 4.1 Mbps
Brunei 4.9 Mbps
Myanmar 4.9 Mbps
Malaysia 5.5 Mbps
Cambodia 5.7 Mbps
Vietnam 13.1 Mbps
Thailand 17.7 Mbps
China 18.3 Mbps
USA 22.3 Mbps
Japan 41.7 Mbps
Singapore 61.0 Mbps

Average ASEAN Internet Speed 12.4 Mbps

Average Global Internet Speed 17.5 Mbps

After the visionary and far-sighted launching of the MSC, which even announced MSC as Malaysia’s “gift to the world”, we have now lagged behind other ASEAN countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore, and worse, we cannot even make the average ASEAN Internet speed of 12.4 Mbps.

Can Salleh outline what initiatives he had discussed or introduced in his two months as the new Communications and Multimedia Minister to improve on the internet infrastructures to ensure that Malaysians enjoy fast, affordable and extensive access to Internet?

I suspect such a notion never entered Salleh’s mind in the past two months, as he was only pre-occupied to be the chief propagandist of the Prime Minister – although even in this field, he is also quite a let-down.

May be, Salleh should have a heart-to-heart chat with the Prime Minister and ask to be appointed as Najib’s Chief Blogger or Chief Propagandist in the Prime Minister’s Office, and to have some one who has the expertise and passion to restore the nation’s earlier vision to be a IT superpower to head the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

The readers’ comments on Salleh’s statement on various news portals are good areas for Salleh to educate himself as what Malaysians expect of him as Minister for Communications and Multimedia, and there can be no better learning experience for him than to sit down to humbly read the mostly critical and even acidic comments from the readers and to answer them one by one.

One of the 97 readers’ comment in Malaysiakini said:

“OMG! I am ROTFLMAOWTIME! Minister Salleh, you are not supposed to go to Kedai Maxis to ask how much are the internet packages so that you can reply to Lim Kit Siang! As a minister in charge of internet, you are supposed to make sure that the country’s telecom / internet infrastructure is constantly upgraded to provide faster speed, negotiate with service providers to make them lower their prices and promote the use of internet to the masses. That is what a minister should do and what Lim Kit Siang meant. Weren’t you given the powers to do so as a minister? Internet is not just blogging, you know? If we even have to teach you how to do your job as a minister, then you should resign so as not to embarrass yourself.”

I will comment on the substance of Salleh’s blog tomorrow.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah