KUALA LUMPUR: To reduce the digital gap, the government has enhanced by RM300 the subsidy for buying smart phones for B40 households with school-going children under the Prihatin Network Programme, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The prime minister said the allocation for the Prihatin Network Programme has been increased to RM2 billion, and it would be launched in May.
“I appeal to telecommunication companies to offer affordable internet packages and continue to provide additional data quota,” he said when unveiling the RM20 billion Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy (Pemerkasa), which was aired live on television today.
This comes under the “Reducing Digital Gap” initiative, one of the 20 strategic initiatives under Pemerkasa.
The government had earlier announced a RM180 subsidy for purchasing handphones for all recipients of the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) aid under Budget 2021.
Muhyiddin also said the MyDigital and Malaysia Digital Economy framework had outlined commercial 5G service as the most important need and as such, 5G service is expected to be rolled out in stages beginning the end of this year.
He also said to improve the quality of broadband service especially in the rural areas, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had allocated RM3.2 billion this year under the Universal Service Provision Fund to upgrade existing transmitting stations and provide fibre optic access to related premises.
He said MCMC would also introduce the MyBaikhati programme in collaboration with telecommunication companies under the device crowdsourcing initiative.
“This programme will kick off with a campaign to collect used gadgets such as computer laptops which will be repaired and distributed to Community Internet Centres and community organisations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the prime minister also announced some good news for youth groups in the country, including boosting the eBelia programme by increasing the credit value from RM100 to RM150, which will benefit two million youths.
He said this initiative involving an allocation of RM300 million would be implemented beginning June this year.
Apart from this, Muhyiddin said the Urban Community Economic Empowerment (PKEB) programme would also be expanded with an additional allocation of RM10 million, taking the total allocations for this year to RM21 million.
“A total of 1,800 participants will benefit from the entrepreneurial training and equipment to be provided for free for following the programmes and courses they signed up for,” he said.
He also said the allocation for the Tunas Usahawan Belia Bumiputera programme would be increased to produce 250 new Bumiputera youth entrepreneurs, apart from introducing the New Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp programme for providing online preparatory training and business guidance to 2,000 youth entrepreneurs.
Muhyiddin said Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) also offers the Pemerkasa-Youth Micro Financing Scheme to provide loans of up to RM50,000 at an interest rate as low as three per cent to the youth to venture into business. – Bernama