Come up with cheap or free internet data plan, says ex-senator
PETALING JAYA: A former senator has called for phone companies to provide a special internet access data package “at very low rates, if not free” to people in the B40 lower-income group.
Loga Bala Mohan, a former deputy minister, said the government should work with telecommunications companies to develop the internet access data plan.
“This will be a special internet package, at very low rates if not free. The government can then act as a facilitator and get corporate companies and banks, which are still making billions in profits, to sponsor these internet plans,” he told FMT.
“I also hope the telecommunications companies will not look too much at profits during this time.”
With schools remaining closed under the movement control order, school children have to follow their lessons via the internet. However, children in poor families are hampered by lack of internet access and the lack of digital devices.
Loga Bala said Putrajaya should quickly develop a plan to ensure that poor students have access to online learning.
“There are many who stay in estates, villages and low-cost flats with no devices or internet access. Some of these families might only have one smartphone and a limited data plan, and have more than one child,” he said.
He questioned the lack of government action about access to online learning. “We already know from the first movement control order (in March last year) that there were issues with online learning. What was done to resolve this?”
Loga Bala said the education ministry should quickly resolve the problem. He asked when the government will carry out its planned distribution of 150,000 laptop computers.
He said most low-income families could not afford unlimited broadband data packages and could only pay for cheap mobile data plans.
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