KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — Those signing up for the controversial 1 Malaysia email service will have to buy a USB biometric device sold by Tricubes Bhd or go to any National Registration Department (NRD) office to get their account activated, the company said today.
Tricubes chief executive Khairun Zainal Mokhtar said the USB device would also allow myemail.my users opt for the more secure end-to-end data encryption for an additional fee, which he described as "a fraction of the cost".
But he declined to provide the price of this value-added service and the USB biometric reader.
Basic account holders will still be able to send free emails that are encrypted with the commonly used Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol during transport, Khairun Zainal added.
"Our default setting is a basic Secure Sockets Layer, which is quite secure," he told reporters here.
"Even with the friendly emails, and without the billing, everything is through SSL. Users can also send personal emails to their friends and it would be completely free."
Khairun Zainal said earlier that those who wish to send emails to myemail.my accounts will have to pay a maximum of 50 sen an email, adding that Tricubes aims to sign up 5.4 million users by year-end.
The 1 Malaysia email service is expected to be launched by July.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Tricubes is pinning its hopes on the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Internal Revenue Board (IRB) to sustain the service through pension and tax notifications.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said that the 1 Malaysia e-mail project will have a gross national income (GNI) impact of RM39 million up to 2015 and will allow direct and secure communications between Malaysian citizens and the government.
But critics say the government should focus on infrastructure project such as providing clean water or broadband across the country rather than working on a free email service which is already available through Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google Inc.
Detractors also question why loss-making Tricubes, at risk of being delisted after its weak financial standing triggered Bursa Malaysia Securities' Guidance Note 3 (GN3) in October last year, was tapped to spearhead the project.
Tricubes has said it is collaborating with Hotmail service owner Microsoft Corp for the project but provided no details.