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Why the 1M’sia e-mail initiative is a plain waste

Here is my analysis of Najib’s brilliant Malaysia initiative to give every single Malaysian over the age of 18 with an “official e-mail” apparently to receive news, bills, yadayadayada. The initiative is expected to cost RM50 million. I won’t speculate whether the cost will balloon, I will just go with RM50million.

According to the government’s Economic Planning Unit’s website (, there are 28,908,795 individuals in Malaysia, 26,784,965 of which are Malaysians. Now the mathematics start.

We will very crudely assume that the distribution of number of persons in the 15-19 age group is 20% for every age. Therefore the number of people from 18 to 19 years old is simply 40% of 2,548,123 which will give us a total of 1,019,249. That gives us a total population of Malaysians over 18 years old to be 16,778,222.

From this number we will further narrow it down to the number of people that are actually computer literate and would therefore have an e-mail address.

I might be provoking the ire of older users by saying this, but we will assume the cut-off age of computer literacy to be at 55 years old. But fret not those over 55 years old, we shall now assume that 30% of the over 55s are computer savvy and thus possess an e-mail account. We will also assume that 90% of the people under the cut-off age of 55 are internet savvy and possess an e-mail account. Combining the numbers will give us a total of 13,211,955 users with an e-mail address.

Why the 1Malaysia e-mail initiative is a plain waste

The numbers gel with ones given by Google, where the number of internet users was given to be 15,074,000 in 2008. The reason why this number is higher can be attributed to several factors. It may include people under the age of 18 and non-Malaysian citizens. So currently we are still on the right track.

Now that we have the number of internet users in Malaysia who are over 18 years old, we want to estimate the number of people in Malaysia over 18 years old who don’t have an e-mail account.

As we have previously estimated that 90% under the cut-off age of 55 are connected to the internet and only 30% of those over 55 are, a quick calculation will give us with 2,024,037 users without an e-mail account.

Now this is the number of people that the government wants to reach out to with the e-mail service. That is spending RM24.70 per person who will or will not even bother with the new e-mail service.

The government would be better off sponsoring children in Africa who need the money even more. Or the money could be better spent building better roads in Sarawak.

Those who already have an e-mail account will most likely forward any e-mails to their preferred e-mail provider, i.e Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. or they will totally ignore their new e-mail account.

In conclusion, this is another initiative by BN that stinks of corruption and fraud and is destined to fail. I really do hope Najib doesn’t go ahead with this silly idea.

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