BN leaders should stop their dishonest tactic of using their control of mass media like Bernama and New Straits Times to perpetuate the lie that the Penang state government is excluding BN parliamentary constituencies in Penang from free wifi initiative. The Penang is not surprised that a paper such as New Straits Times that Never Speaks the Truth continues to attack the state government for something we had not done but is in fact trying to correct.
But for the national news agency like Bernama not to print the Penang state government’s clarification that the free wifi initiative is for all including those in BN parliamentary constituencies shows that general elections is near and that Bernama should be known as BNnama.
The Penang PR state government is fair to all Penangites regardless of race, religion, gender and even political affiliation. The PR state government is a government for all Penangites including BN supporters. For this reason when the Penang state government launched the free wifi initiative in 2009, we wanted coverage throughout Penang including the BN parliamentary constituencies of Kepala Batas and Tasik Glugor. This free wifi initiative is an effort by the Penang state government to increase broadband penetration and digital intelligence both in the urban and rural Penang to propel Penang forward as a knowledge-based economy.
The Penang state government managed to secure a private company Redtone, to provide free wifi services without paying a single cent. Redtone promised to provide 750 free wifi hotspots without charge by relying on advertising revenues to get back their investment and capital outlay. The state government also facilitated Redtone by exempting them from certain rules in installing their wifi devices.
The 750 free wifi hotspots were recently fully installed this year on both Penang and the mainland. However the Penang state government was concerned that there were certain areas not covered by the free wifi initiative such as the Bukit Glugor, Nibong Tebal, Kepala Batas and Tasik Glugor parliamentary constituencies. Both Bukit Glugor and Nibong Tebal are PR parliamentary seats.
Redtone explained that commercial considerations compelled them to place the 750 wifi hotspots only in areas where there is commercial viability. As this is a private enterprise offered free by the company, the state government can not compel Redtone to cover all areas in Penang.
To correct this imbalance and ensure that wifi coverage is available to all, the Penang state government has carried out discussions to have a joint-venture with Redtone to install an additional 750 hotspots that will cover all areas in Penang, including those areas left out earlier. In other words the additional 750 wifi hotspots will result in a total of 1,500 FREE wifi hotspots in Penang when full completed.
This good intention by the state government to ensure free wifi coverage for all has now been distorted and twisted to an act of discrimination by the PR state government against BN supporters. How can the PR state government be accused of discriminating against BN supporters when even Karpal Singh’s parliamentary seat is not covered by Redtone’s first free wifi initiative? It is typical of BN mass media and its leaders’ double-standards and propaganda when the PR state government stands accused of discriminating against BN supporters or areas when the PR state government’s good intentions is to provide free wifi coverage for all.
LIM GUAN ENG