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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Free: 1SpamMalaysia e-mail account

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Updated: Walski's expanded commentary in the full post

Gee, it's not like most of us don't already have more e-mail accounts than we know what to do with. But the 1Malaysia government, under 1Najib, announced earlier today that everyone above the age of 1Eight will get a free 1e-mail account.

Which in all likelihood will end up being a 1Big-spam-receptacle - both the official 1MalaysiaSpam, plus the 1Viagra, 1NegeriaScam, 1PenisEnlargement (or 2 for the price of 1, if you're lucky), etc. kind.

And the purpose? Who knows... The real purpose, that is, and not the smarmy "better services deliver" 1Bullshit public relations kind of reasons.

Who comes up with these wasteful 1NumbNuts ideas? Seriously, we're 1Unwilling to implement automatic voter registration, but giving out 1e-mail accounts?

What a truly 1diotic idea...

On Twitter, Malaysians say no to 1 Malaysia email a/c

Malaysians on the Internet are ridiculing the government’s plan to give a 1 Malaysia email account to every Malaysian aged 18 and over.

They were up in arms on social media network Twitter as soon as news of the RM50 million project to set up a new one-stop web portal for government services was made public this morning.

The hashtag “#1malaysiaemail” was the third most popular topic among Malaysian users on the network as of 5pm today.

Many said that the money could be put to better use, such as in education, helping the poor and getting Internet service out to rural areas.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said the 1 Malaysia email initiative will allow direct and secure communications between Malaysian citizens and government as well as enhance delivery of public services.


(the road to financial Hell is paved with ill-advised intentions, and more, in the full post)

Seriously, folks – just how many of us who are connected to the Internet don’t already have an e-mail account? Or five?

What triggered this outcry on Twitter was, of course, the announcement (via The Star) by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak made about seven more alphabet soup ETP (Economic Transformation Program) projects, including one spearheaded by Tricubes Bhd – a free 1Malaysia e-mail account (via The Star again) for every Malaysian 18 and above.

The same report from The Star indicated that the project is worth RM 50m – and in the fine tradition of our very opaquely transparent government, doesn’t quite mention how this project will be funded. What we do know is that the project will be in collaboration with Microsoft.

The official reason for this initiative: “in order to receive statements, bills and notices from the Government”. Hmmm… like you can’t do that with regular e-mail?

Besides, e-mail is really so last century, and really is an initiative only a tech luddite could have come up with. Today, there’s Facebook, and Twitter – whose reach is ubiquitous. Better yet, you can do loads of stuff using these two tools on the cheap, if not entirely free.

Speaking of Twitter, as The Malaysian Insider report above indicates, criticism of this new RM 50M initiative has been widespread. Just do a Twitter search for #1malaysiaemail and you’ll see what Walski means.

Here’s one recent one, though, that caught Walski’s eye:

Extract from Twitter search, image hosting by Photobucket

The "dying entity" referred to is none other than Tricubes Bhd, a holding corporation that’s not exactly in a rosy financial state. So is this corporation really going to cough up RM 50M, as claimed, or is the financing coming from somewhere else.

Incidentally, here’s a statement Walski found from the corporation, dated April 4, 2011, posted on the Bursa Malaysia website:

The Board of Directors of TRICUBES wishes to announce that the Company has on 4 April 2011 accepted the appointment by the Government of Malaysia represented by Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (“MAMPU”) vide MAMPU's letter of award dated 29 March 2011 to implement the 1Malaysia Email Project. TRICUBES will enter into a definitive agreement with Government of Malaysia to finalise the detailed terms and conditions of the appointment in due course.

Don’t know about you, but that sounds like a project award announcement if there ever was one. Of course, the project may be funded by the award winner itself. But when the award winner isn’t in exactly the best of financial states, you do start to question: WTF is really going on?

You can almost hear the audience screaming BAIL OUT… but let’s not speculate, shall we?

So, what does Walski think about all this? In summary:

  • he questions the opaque necessity for the initiative
  • he questions the choice of e-mail as a delivery vehicle
  • he predicts that the e-mail accounts will be not much more than spam magnets – both the official kind from the government (any unsolicited notice, promo, etc. is considered spam), and the usual Internet kind
  • where’s the funding really coming from?

Will we ever know the real answers? Walski’s crystal ball has been malfunctioning of late, and he really doesn’t personally know any good shamans, so the the answer is “quite likely not”.

As long as it’s not the tax-payers who are footing the bill, Walski won’t complain. Doesn’t mean he will necessarily jump at the opportunity of ANOTHER free e-mail account he doesn’t need, but he won’t complain.

Walski’s got enough spam in his online life, and certainly doesn’t need any more. Particularly not the 1SpamMalaysia kind we’re already pretty much sick of as it is.