KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Several firms were invited to bid for the 1 Malaysia email project last November and demonstrate a 100 per cent take-up rate for the service, contradicting the Najib administration’s statement that the account is not compulsory.
The Malaysian Insider understands the key performance indicator (KPI) for the project was a 50 per cent take-up rate for those above 18-years old by 2012, before increasing to 100 per cent by 2015.
The winning bidder also had to demonstrate how it would get 50 per cent of the email account holders to use its value added services such online bill payment and public record searches by 2020, according to a document seen by The Malaysian Insider.
However, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who announced the project yesterday, clarified early this morning that the email account is entirely voluntary.
“Before I sleep, let me clarify that the 1Malaysia E Mail is a private sector project. No public money is involved n entirely voluntary,” the prime minister wrote in his @NajibRazak Twitter account at 12.31am this morning.
His statement came hours after his Performance and Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu) officials also took to the micro-blogging service to quell a furore over the email service, which some said was a waste of the announced RM50 million investment.
“1Msia Email address is NOT compulsory for all Msians. 1Msia Email is a private sector-led initiative by Tricubes (Berhad), with investment from the company & NOT the govt,” said Pemandu through its @etp_roadmap Twitter account.
Both statements contradicted Tricubes Bhd’s filing to the Bursa Malaysia early this month on April 4, in which the IT firm said it had been awarded the email project by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu).
“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 1 Malaysia 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. This announcement is dated 4 April 2011,” it said to the local bourse.
The statement did not specify financing or payment details of the project.
Guidelines issued by Mampu and shown to The Malaysian Insider said the 1 Malaysia email project under the E-Government initiative is “for each citizen above the age of 18 years to be assigned a unique official email account and ID ... It will provide value-added services such as online bill payment, public record search and others,” it added.
It is understood as many as five companies were invited to pitch for the project by Mampu although it was unclear why the task was given to civil service unit that manages the public service.
Mampu had asked the bidders coming for the presentation to illustrate:
* A business model and sustainability plan to fund this mega project which will support an estimate of 16 million population who are aged 18 and above with trillions of online transactions.
* An estimation of the sources of revenue, project cost, key stakeholders, stimulus to encourage usage besides a mandate from the government, data security, etc.
It then set the project KPI at a 50 per cent take-up rate for the email account by Malaysians 18 and above in 2012, growing to the maximum of 100 per cent by 2015.
Mampu also asked the companies to ensure that value added services usage is 15 per cent of all registered users by 2012, 30 per cent by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020.
In a statement issued last night, Tricubes chief executive Khairun Zainal Mokhtar reiterated that the “1 Malaysia Email project is a Private Funding Initiative (PFI) and therefore private sector driven”.
He said the project is to offer “centralised e-government services such as online notifications and digital bill statements from government agencies”.
“While we are currently unable to reveal all the details of our business model for the 1 Malaysia Email project as a company listed on Bursa Malaysia, Tricubes has underlined key strategies to ensure commercial viability including advertising and future e-services transactions.
“Private testing is already under way as we prepare towards system readiness,” Khairun said.
His statement did not address concerns about the company’s status under Bursa Malaysia’s Guidance Notice 3 (GN3) for firms that have been asked for a financial regularisation plan or risk delisting.
According to the company’s note, Tricubes was involved in the nationwide deployment of the country’s identity card system called MyKad.
Najib had said the project will have a gross national income (GNI) impact of RM39 million up to 2015 that will allow direct and secure communications between Malaysian citizens and the government, as well as enhance the delivery of government services to consumers and businesses alike.
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.
Tricubes has said it is collaborating with Hotmail service owner Microsoft Corp for the project but no details were forthcoming.
Malaysians already enjoy online services such as MyEG and utilise banking portals to pay for a variety of utilities and services without the usage of email accounts.