By Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara
Thursday, 28 Apr 2011
The “1Malaysia email project” circus is continuing as Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak continues to maintain an elegant silence over the project despite the obvious complicity of various agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department and the Finance Ministry under his charge.
Despite Najib’s attempt to wash his hands off the project by claiming that the RM50 million project will not be funded with Government money, Pemandu officials as well as the project owner, Tricube Bhd’s CEO himself admitted that Government agencies will be required to pay 50 sen per email sent to registered users. This will result in millions being spent by each government agency should they be sending just 1 email to the forecasted 15 million users.
What’s more, despite Najib’s denial that the project will not be funded by the Government, Tricubes has disclosed that they have received seed capital of RM5.5 million for the project from Malaysia Venture Capital (MAVCAP), a fund wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance.
To add further to the ludicrous confusion, MAVCAP immediately made an indirect denial that the investment was meant for the 1Malaysia email project, but instead is for another subsidiary of Tricubes, Tam Tam Sdn Bhd which is involved in mobile salesforce automation products.
In a Twitter exchange with Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno Youth Chief who had earlier called the Pemandu officials “little Napoleons” for defying the Prime Minister’s clarification that the Government isn’t footing a single sen for the project, he insisted the officials are still to be blamed because they didn’t brief the Prime Minister properly – “obv they are to blame b/c didn’t brief PM properly”. (Apr 27 1.32pm)
Regardless of whether Khairy’s comment was made in jest or in all seriousness, now that we have established the fact that Government agencies will be unreasonably required to pay 50 sen for every email sent to a registered 1Malaysia email user, will Najib who is both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister issue or initiate the directive to stop all Government agencies from committing to such exhorbitant fees?
Instead, Najib must direct all government agencies interested in providing electronic communications for bills and statements, should require citizens to provide their own emails, whether Gmail, Yahoo!Mail, Hotmail or other email providers for such communication. By doing so, government agencies will be able to communicate with ordinary Malaysians by sending unlimited email at absolutely no cost!
If banks and credit card companies can do it today, there’s absolutely no reason why Government agencies are unable to do the same.
The above circus over a “simple” RM50 million 1Malaysia email project, instead of showcasing a reformed Government machinery under the various initiatives like the GTP, ETP, EPP etc, has instead exposed the fact that all is not well within the Najib’s administration. The various government departments, whether due to sheer incompetence or vested interest, is the biggest hindrance to a successful implementation of Government “transformation” programmes.
If Najib continues to take a hands-off approach like he’s doing for the “1Malaysia email project”, then all the King’s horses and all the King’s men will not be able to will not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.