The People-Centric Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN): No One Will Be Left Behind
The People-Centric Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) valued at RM250 billion, announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 27 March 2020, was the biggest economic stimulus package ever in the history of the nation.
Several packages will be offered in collaboration with various telecommunications companies (telcos), including efforts to improve telecommunications network and free Internet offerings, that are collectively worth RM1 billion.
To ensure that the people’s well-being is protected, the Government is committed to ensure that no one is left behind, especially from the B40 and M40 income groups, to benefit from the stimulus package.
Among the initiatives offered is free Internet with a value of RM600 million from 1 April 2020 until the end of the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. The initiatives include:
- Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile Postpaid and Prepaid customers will receive free high-speed internet of 1GB per day, to be used between 8am and 6pm. This will begin 1 April 2020 and will be in effect throughout the duration of MCO;
- Free calls to important hotlines including Crisis Preparedness Response Centre (CPRC), National Operations Management Centre and Ministry of Health (MOH) state branches;
- YTL Communications will offer free access to online learning resources through FrogAsia, 40GB free data on the YES 4G mobile network, as well as five (5) free 4G prepaid SIM cards from YES to parents of children in Government schools; and
- On top of offering unlimited home and mobile plans, fixed broadband provider Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) is offering free 999GB LTE hotspot pass for unifi Mobile postpaid customers. Meanwhile, TIME dotcom Berhad is offering domestic voice calls for free and bill rebates worth RM240 to its subscribers who wish to upgrade their home broadband plans.
Telcos are also committed to invest an additional RM400 million until the second quarter of the year to increase network coverage and capacity to maintain a high and sustainable telecommunications network availability and quality. This investment will also be used to upgrade capacity and improve coverage for critical locations including hospitals, government agencies, enforcement agencies and media centres. Both TM and TIME dotcom Berhad are giving priority to its efforts in order to ensure that the mobile operators’ backhaul infrastructure can be catered for.
In the meantime, the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) will continue to be implemented to improve the country’s digital connectivity, especially in rural areas. A sum of RM3 billion has been allocated by the government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as announced in the Economic Stimulus Package 1 on 27 February 2020 for the implementation of six (6) projects under the NFCP (NFCP1-6) for the year 2020. These projects will be fully funded through the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund which is under the stewardship of MCMC.
Meanwhile, postal and delivery services play an integral role in supporting entrepreneurs to complete fulfilment through e-commerce platforms, apart from their usual services for all Malaysians. The key postal and courier companies are committed in providing the following additional services:
- Courier delivery services not exceeding 1 kilogram at the cost of RM5, excluding tax on delivery services in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak;
- The stated rates are only offered to users who are registered with digital portals of each postal and courier service provider. Online registration is imperative in order to improve entrepreneurial competence in managing deliveries as well as encouraging cashless transactions; and
- The delivery service rate is valid for six (6) months, from 15 April 2020 until 15 October 2020.
Postal and courier companies, as well as telcos have donated in the form of cash, system capacity and equipment to the GLC Disaster Relief Network (GDRN) worth RM8.75 million. The GDRN is administered by Yayasan Hasanah, which is a foundation under Khazanah Nasional Berhad for contribution to the Ministry of Health. The contribution list is as follows:
Donations from Postal, Courier, and Telecommunications Industry
||Name of Company/Organisation
||Donated Funds (RM)
||Association of Malaysian Express Carriers (AMEC)
||GD Express Sdn Bhd (GDeX)
(in the form of System Telepresence, WiFi, AI Cloud and Smart Phone equipment)
||Telekom Malaysia (GDRN)
||U Mobile (GDRN)
Private broadcasters including Astro and unifi TV are offering free viewing packages while Malaysians remain home in adherence to the MCO.
- Offering 14 movie channels and 11 news channels free-of-charge; free channels for sports package subscribers;
- 22 free channels through the Astro-On-The-Go app as well as KIX, Nat GEO WILD, Celestial Movies and Cartoon Network channels for NJOI subscribers; and
- Astro business customers are allowed to suspend their services at no charge.
- unifi TV
- Offering free access to all channels (more than 100 available channels); and
- 20% discount for every Video-on-Demand film purchased.
These initiatives offered by telecommunications, post and courier, and broadcasting companies would allow people to live their daily lives from the comfort of their own homes. MCMC is confident that these inclusive initiatives will ease the burden of the people affected by COVID-19.
The public is encouraged to contact or refer to their respective service providers for more information on the packages offered during this MCO period.