The MYR250 billion people-centric Economic Stimulus Package announced by prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin today is designed to help cushion the country from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the key focuses of the package is the multimedia and telecommunications industry.
In partnership with the four major telcos–Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile, the government introduced several special packages including efforts to upgrade the telecommunication network, with a collective budget of MYR1 billion.
Free and free
The free mobile internet package will see all postpaid and prepaid customers of the four telcos giving out 1GB of free internet data daily. This data can be used between 8AM to 6PM each day.
Introduced as part of various relief initiatives previously, all calls to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), National Operations Centre, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) hotlines are free.
Furthermore, the telcos have committed to invest MYR400 million in the second quarter to improve coverage and network capabilities to ensure high-quality connectivity. This investment will also cover improving coverage and capabilities of mission-critical sites such as hospitals, government agencies, administrative agencies and media centres.
At the same time, the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) will continue to improve connectivity across the nation, especially in rural areas. As announced in the first Economic Stimulus Package on 27 February 2020, the government has allocated MYR3 billion through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to implement six NFCP projects in 2020. These projects will be funded through the USP fund that is managed by the MCMC.
That aside, postal and courier companies together with telecommunication companies have contributed cash, systems and equipment to the GLC Disaster Relief Network (GDRN) Fund amounting to MYR8.75 million in value. This fund is managed by Yayasan Hasanah (Hasanah Foundation), a foundation owned by Khazanah Nasional, which contributes to the Ministry of Health.
Separately, Axiata and Celcom have initiated a COVID-19 relief programme which is a special MYR150 million fund designed to help 150,000 micro-SMEs that are impacted by the pandemic.
More consumer perks
On the consumer front, Astro offers 14 movie channels and 11 news channels for free to its subscribers as well as all sports channels for free to its sports package subscribers. Additionally, both non-customers and customers can access 22 channels for free via Astro GO.
Lastly, unifi offers free access to all its 100 channels to all its subscribers as well as a 20 percent discount on selected VOD movie titles.