Cabinet unlocks price cap for RM200 smartphone rebate, says Rais

January 02, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Putrajaya has lifted the controversial RM500 price cap for youths who want to get a RM200 rebate for smartphones under a RM300 million scheme, after pressure from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) parties

Information, Culture and Communication MInister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim (picture) said the Cabinet meeting today agreed that youths earning below RM3,000 a month can buy any smartphone without the price cap.

Kabinet setuju belia 21-30 tahun dn pndapatan RM3,000 ke bwh boleh tawarkan utk beli apa jua telefon pintar dgn rebat RM200 mulai bulan ini,” the minister said in his Twitter microblogging site this evening.

(The Cabinet agreed that youths between 21 and 30 years old and earning up to RM3,000 can buy any smartphone with a rebate of RM200 starting this month.)

Umno Youth and MCA had told Putrajaya there should not be a price cap after the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced the scheme’s details last December.

Under the scheme, youths between the ages of 21 and 30 can apply for the RM200 rebate to purchase selected 3G smartphones from registered Celco dealers, starting yesterday.

The scheme is on a first-come-first-served basis and will be for the first 1.5 million eligible youths who may claim their smartphone while stocks last.

In a statement on December 27, MCMC chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi had said youths who qualify for the RM200 rebate would be able to purchase selected 3G smartphones costing up to RM500 from selected dealers and agents appointed by the providers

“The idea is to spread the incentive across lower-income group youths who do not yet use smartphones and cannot afford to upgrade from their old 2G phones to a basic 3G smartphone.

“Those who can afford phones priced RM500 and above are really not in the intended category or target market,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a one-off rebate of RM200 for 3G smartphone purchases for 1.5 eligible youths through the Youth Communication Package when tabling the 2013 Budget last September in an effort to give youths access to the information superhighway.

With the rebate, they were expected to pay no more than RM300 to own a new 3G smartphone, he said while refuting claims that the RM500 price limit was low as there were over 20 models of branded phones which are 3G enabled.

“Therefore youths should look out for the ‘Pakej Komunikasi Belia’ logo that will be displayed on banners and buntings at these outlets or they can also check the websites of the service providers for the list of smartphones and participating dealership outlets,” he said.

Mohamed Sharil said based on studies conducted by MCMC, over 90 per cent of users were in the prepaid segment but Celcos only provided mobile phone incentives for postpaid contracts.