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Phone rebate: Mixed reactions

KUCHING: Youths here have varied reactions to the RM200 rebate for smartphones through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

For third-year undergraduate Rowena Liew, the rebate is good news for students with no monthly salary.

“It’s quite a lot for students. For working people, it might not be much. I think this would probably attract the attention of students. They would be more interested in this rebate,” she said.

However, she said she was not keen to get any of the approved models listed so far.

Although she is planning to get a smartphone, Liew said she would only consider applying for the rebate if she could have the model she wants.

“I want to get a smartphone because I want to use the Internet to cut down the SMS costs on my phone bill,” said the graphic design student.

Beauty therapist Wong Siew Ping agreed that the RM200 rebate would not affect her decision to get the smartphone model she wants. “I would only apply for the rebate if they offered the phone I want like iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. Actually I think it doesn’t make much difference as it is a one-off rebate,” she said.

“ I won’t say this rebate is timely. It would just save me RM200 for a great meal, I can say this. I can buy it any time when I have the money.”

Instead of a rebate, she suggested the government offer a plan to help youths save on their monthly phone Internet bills.

“What is the use of helping those with lower income to get a smartphone if they have to pay high phone bills every month later? I think people would like it more if the government could offer something like free phone Internet or rebates on the Internet usage every month,” she said.

Sales consultant Paul Chai, who has a smartphone, said the rebate would help students with lower budgets get a smartphone so they could go online.

“Working people like those in their late 20s who have the earning power would not bother much about this plan. Whether there is a rebate or not, they will get what they want at any time,” he said.

He suggested the government focus on programmes that benefit more people.

“This is not a life necessity. This plan doesn’t reach out to the poor who really need help to survive and it only benefits a certain group. I think more people would be happy if there is a rebate on petrol. Living costs are getting more expensive as the price of goods and petrol keep going up,” he said.

For administrative assistant Jason Chan, the rebate is not worthwhile.

“It is not worth it to spend money to get something just because of the RM200 rebate. After all you need to top up more – it is not free. I think those who need it can get it. But those in their 20s who already have smartphones or they can afford it would unlikely be attracted by this rebate,” he said.

“Actually those over 20 would probably be carrying good smartphones, especially working adults would have been using it for years or they could have changed a few already. It would be more relevant if this is applied to the younger age group like from 18.”

Under Budget 2013, youths aged 21 to 30 with monthly incomes of RM3,000 and below are eligible for the 3G smartphone rebate from Jan 1 to Dec 31.

Devices offered under the Youth Communication Package varied between the country’s seven telecommunication companies.

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It is the quality of the human capital that will determine if we can meet our aspirations of achieving a high value, and high income, economy by 2020. As we progress towards becoming a developed nation, we must do our part to equip fellow Malaysians with the skills and knowledge to succeed as a productive member of the knowledge-led economy.

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Malaysians are now more exposed to the various media platforms than in previous years. As the authority and custodian of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Postal Services Act 2001 and Digital Signature Act 1997, the Commission’s functions and responsibilities are becoming increasingly more apparent and significant.

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