Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, Georgetown on Thursday, 31st March 2011:
Pakatan Rakyat PR Penang for all, Wifi for all
The "Penang PR for all, Wifi for all" to make Penang the first wifi state in Malaysia is a bold and innovative initiative to broaden digital intelligence for all Penangites. As the first state in Malaysia to provide free wifi for all in public areas, there is a need for further explanations of the approach taken to implement this novel concept.
The Penang state government wishes to stress that we are willing to consider other listed companies on Bursa Malaysia licensed to provide ICT services, the same terms as that offered to Redtone International Bhd. In other words these listed companies must be willing to install and maintain 1,500 free wifi hotspots for all Penangites for a period of 5 years at a cost of RM8.5 million funded by the state.
As an indication of the listed company's commitment to Penang's free wifi initiative they must follow Redtone's lead in installing and maintaining the first 750 free wifi hotspot free of charge at their own cost. Then only can these listed companies qualify for the second phase to bid for the additional 750 free wifi hotspots funded in part by the state government.
The Penang PR state government regrets the irresponsible attempts by BN to confuse policy with practice by claiming that the Pg PR state government has abandoned our open tender policy. Clearly, BN is hypocritical for criticising PR for not practicing open tender when BN completely fails to do.
I wish to reiterate that the open tender policy is one of the hallmarks of Penang PR state government’s CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency. For the first time in Malaysian history Penang became the only state government to be praised by Transparency International because of our CAT governance and open tender.
Penang PR CAT governance is based on open tenders but PR is being transparent by stating that there is no open tender when only one listed company apply and qualify.
Listed Companies On Bursa Malaysia Licensed To Provide ICT Services Will Be Offered The Same Terms As Redtone International Bhd To Install And Maintain 1,500 Free Wifi Hotspots For All Penangites For 5 Years At RM 8.5 Million.
The Penang free wifi initiative is divided into two phases. The first phase consists of listed companies providing 750 free wifi hotspots in public areas at its own cost without charging the state government a single cent. Its investment is to be recouped from advertising revenues.
In this first phase, the state government merely provides facilitation in securing local government approvals for installation. Only one company (Redtone) stepped forward to provide the 750 free wifi hotspots in public areas at its own cost. No other listed companies expressed any interest in providing the 750 free wifi hotspots at its own costs.
As this first phase is commercially driven, the state government can not forcibly compel Redtone to install the first 750 free wifi hotspots in all areas in Penang. This is why some areas were left out, including the parliamentary constituency of Bukit Glugor belonging to DAP National Chair Karpal Singh.
To ensure that free wifi is for all, the state government has to fund the second phase of installing and maintaining another 750 free wifi hotspots in public areas at a cost of RM8.5 million for 5 years. This second phase will not only increase the number of free wifi hotspots in public areas to 1,500 but also ensure that all state constituencies in Penang are covered by some free wifi hotspots. It is this second phase that BN is criticising the state government for not practicing open tender.
BN is practicing selective criticism and missing the wood from the trees. Instead of taking the whole 1st and 2nd phase together, BN ignores the first phase and concentrate only on the second phase. This is wrong. To qualify for the second phase, the listed company must first fulfil the first phase by providing the initial 750 free wifi hotspots at its own cost without a single cent from the state government. Then only can it qualify to be funded by the state government for its second phase.
When we first approached the listed companies in Bursa Malaysia licensed to provide such services, none was interested except Redtone. To date no listed company is interested. As only Redtone qualified by complying with the first phase, it is not possible to conduct an open tender with only one company under the second phase.
The Penang state government is still willing to consider the same terms offered to Redtone, ALSO to other listed companies provided that like Redtone, these listed companies carry out the first phase of providing the first 750 free wifi hotspots at its own cost. The terms of Phase 2 with Redtone are as follows:
Key Points Of Collaboration Agreement for the Deployment of Wireless Broadband between PDC Telecommunications Services Sdn Bhd(PDCT) and Redtone International Berhad(Redtone)
Penang Pakatan Rakyat(PR) State Government For All; Free Wifi For All
General Terms - Salient Points
Apportionment of Revenue
All net revenue generated from the advertising services shall be apportioned between PDCT and Redtone equally.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister