Letter: Come clean on ‘1Malaysia Email Project’ revenue

By Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara

Friday, 22 Apr 2011

Najib and Pemandu must come clean with the “1Malaysia Email Project” details
by revealing all terms and conditions of the concession awarded to Tricubes
Berhad, and stop digging a deeper hole for themselves with flip-flopping answers

It is almost comical the way our Prime Minister, Datuk Najib Abdul Razak and Pemandu
officials are heaping layers of misleading and contradictory statements in an attempt to
cover up the “1Malaysia email project” fiasco.

First, Pemandu had to take the trouble to edit the description of the project from
a “government initiative” to a “private sector initiative”, despite the fact that Tricubes Bhd
has announced on Bursa Malaysia that it was awarded the email project by the Malaysian
Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu).

Then, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had to assure Malaysians via Twitter that the much-criticised
project would not be funded by the government and nor made compulsory.

However, in a radio interview with BFM yesterday, business services NKEA communications
content and infrastructure director Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek disclosed that
government agencies will pay Tricubes Bhd to use the company’s 1Malaysia e-mail
database.

Fadhlullah Suhaimi said he expected agencies to pay Tricubes about 50 sen per e-
mail, “cheaper than the RM1.00 printing, stationery, postage and dispatch cost of sending a
regular letter.”

This disclosure comes as a complete shock to Malaysians because the Prime Minister has
assured us that the Government will not be paying a sen for the project! And yet, it is now
obvious that the “1Malaysia email project” is a scheme designed to fleece tax-payers monies
with a service that is completely unnecessary.

The fact of the matter is the creation of an “official email” account is absolutely unnecessary
in “official” dealings with the Government. At this point of time, even Maybank and Citibank
are able to send my monthly bank and credit card account statements to my Yahoo or
Gmail accounts. I also have no problems receiving my monthly mobile phone bills from
Digi Telecommunications. The signing up of a “1Malaysia” account is not only a hassle, it is
clearly a barrier created specifically for certain parties to profit.

While Dr Fadhlullah tried hard to justify the project by claiming that Government agencies
will only pay 50 sen for each email sent via the 1Malaysia email account as opposed to RM1
for cost of printing and postage, he failed to explain why 50 sen should even be paid when
banks and telecommunication companies pay absolutely nothing to send us our bills and
statements today without having to set up “special” email accounts!

Clearly the design and nature of the “1Malaysia email project” is to create an artificial need
for a concession to provide rent-seeking opportunities for companies which may find it
difficult to provide real value-added services in a competitive environment.

Given that the Prime Minister and Pemandu officials have been tripping over each other to
provide flip-flopping explanations which repeatedly contradict each other, Pemandu must

to the right thing and disclose in full the contract awarded to Tricubes Berhad so that the
public can know the full truth.

The failure of Pemandu to do so will only make a mockery of its own Government
Transformation Programme (GTP) which calls for the elimination of rent-seeking while
increasing transparency and accountability. Pemandu should protect its reputation by
calling a spade a spade, and call for the withdrawal of the project which has without a
doubt, become an international embarrassment for the Najib administration.