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Troubled firm to spearhead email project

Tricubes Bhd, which has been awarded the RM50 million contract to launch the 1Malaysia email service, is a financially troubled company.

NONEThe little known technology firm is one of the 12 companies listed by Bursa Malaysia as a GN3 company because of its “poor or adverse financial condition”.

Under Bursa Malaysia guidelines, the GN3-status classification would make the company eligible to seek help from the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee to restructure its debts.

Tricubes could be delisted if it fails to convince Bursa that it has a proper recovery plan within 12 months, which include the settlement of all its debts.

The RM50 million government contract will no doubt help breath new life in the ailing company.
The 1Malaysia Email Project is conceived to provide email accounts for official purposes to all Malaysians aged 18 and above.

NONEAccording to Prime Minister Najib Razak today, the email allow direct and secure communication between Malaysian citizens and the government.

Its purpose, he added, is also to enhance the delivery of government services to consumers and businesses alike.
However, government think-tank Pemandu is quick to clarify that the email project is a “private sector-led initiative by Tricubes, with investment from the company and not the government”.

It also stressed that the 1Malaysia email address is “not compulsory for all Malaysians”.
Opposition politicians and members of the public, however, have already starting blasting the project.
'The rip-off of the century'
NONEAn anti-1Malaysia e-mail Facebook account has already been set up with 1,500 members on board less than three hours after it was set up slightly before 4.30pm.

Through Twitter, meanwhile, messages have already spread criticisms against the idea. Among them was from DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, who described the idea and RM50 million fund as “the rip-off of the century.”

Batu MP Tian Chua, in his tweet, asked whether Najib could offer a 1Malaysia diaper for every newborn baby, or a toilet bowl for every household.

Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson, Elizabeth Wong, questioned how the e-mails could be provided free of charge.

“What became of the Perak government's free email project some years' ago?” asked the Selangor exco member.

NONEPAS' Titiwangsa MP Dr Lo'Lo Mohd Ghazali tweeted tongue-in-cheek that RM50 million could have been used to buy four big screen to add to the two 35-story screens already fixed onto two sides of the Umno-owned Putra World Trade Centre building.

She also questioned who would audit the costs of the project.

Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, meanwhile, asked: If the federal government can give all Malaysians a 1Malaysia email account, why cant they register voters automatically?

“I do not want to have a BN email account as 1Malaysia is BN,” she added.

Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran said the costs of maintaining the e-mail project would by itself by controversial: “There is a need to maintain the site. Most of it will be for maintenance, to have the software in place, and make sure it is up to date. There is also the danger of spamming, so it involves a lot of risk and possibly costs,” he said.
Half of Msians without Internet access
“Google has had problems of it being hacked and has withdrawn from China recently because of this after it had invested billions. So the company developing this will have to take note,” he said.

google malaysiakini number one search results 111208Furthermore, Premesh asked, why is there a need for separate 1Malaysia email account given many Malaysians already have their own emails.

“A cheaper solution is to approach established companies like Google to provide emails. Malaysiakini staff have already adopted Google for its email and its free,” he said.

Premesh said further that Google - which the government can negotiate with to obtain minimal costs - has the experience to speak on its behalf.

Since 50 percent of Malaysians do not even have Internet access, why give them emails, Premesh asked further.

On the other hand, there are seven million Facebook users in Malaysia and such messages could be delivered via facebook for free.

He also questioned why users would want to access their bills via the 1Malaysia email account when some have already registered their emails with service providers like Telekom Malaysia, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

“When we go to the National Registration Department, they also ask if we have an email on their form. So would there now be duplication?” he asked.
'Big Brother' concerns
NONEMalaysiakini columnist Oon Yeoh (left), when contacted, agreed the needed details regarding the initiative are lacking.
Three things come to mind when evaluating the effectiveness - or otherwise - of the 1Malaysia email, he noted.

Firstly, will it garner immediate response from government departments or agencies if the people use it to ask something of them, he asked.
"Presumably the use of 1Malaysia email is to identify whether the sender is authentic and by all (Malaysians) having an account, it makes it easily detectable.
"However, if the response does take more than 24 hours, people would not want to use it. Why should they, if the response takes so long?
"The proof of the pudding is in the tasting', as they say. If there is a failed response to this project, it would not be used," said Oon.
Secondly, people in the US and UK do not like to interact with the government due to concerns over privacy and confidentiality of information.
"It would be interesting to see the response of Malaysians to," said Oon.
Thirdly, the term 1Malaysia is deemed political and people with Pakatan Rakyat may not want to use for its connection to the BN.
"Rightfully, it is seen as a political slogan which may not appeal to those in the opposition. They may not want to use it at all and this would isolate its use to certain people.
"Ultimately, there is too little known about the project, such as what it entails, what it means when they say it is a private project," he added.

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