Tag Archives: internet

We can’t afford fast Internet, duh!



We can’t afford fast Internet, duh!
By Zan Azlee

Malaysia has never run dry of politicians who say the darndest things. And this is even more so in recent times when statements made by them are like funny one-liner comedy routines.

The most recent one was made by a new minister, who assumed his role roughly about two months ago, during a Cabinet reshuffle.

If you still remember, this Cabinet reshuffle saw the sacking of two senior members, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. It was a controversial decision.

Now that you memory has been refreshed, back to the point of my column this week: Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak says the darndest things!
He was reported to have said Malaysians prefer to have slower Internet speeds. His conclusion was based on data showing 71% of Malaysians chose slower, cheaper Internet packages.

This is quite a ridiculous conclusion. One reason is that there can be no way that an average Malaysian would prefer an inferior service over a superior one.

If you had a choice of either driving a top-of-the-line Porsche and the most basic Proton, and where price is no issue, which would be your first pick?

But the thing here is that a luxury car is not a basic necessity while the Internet is considered in the developed world to be a basic human necessity.

It is more an issue of affordability rather than preference. Malaysia is well known for having one of the highest Internet prices in the region, if not the world.

Because of monopoly in the industry, prices have remained consistently high while quality has been inconsistent to say the least.

It’s not because they don’t want to, it just means that most Malaysians really have no choice but to choose a cheaper Internet package due to affordability and suffer through slow speeds.

Now, I’m not the only person saying this. Some prominent individuals have also criticised what Salleh has said, including former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

She said it was shameful for the world to think, from the statement made by Salleh, that Malaysians were so backward in wanting to have slower Internet.

I am currently in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, attending and conducting filmmaking workshops at The Borneo Eco Film Festival, and the feeling here in Sabah is of shock and surprise.

Salleh is a Sabahan. He was the chief minister of the state from 1994 to 1996 and is currently a Senator in the Dewan Negara. He is the same age as the American actor Kevin Bacon.

One Sabahan I spoke to said that “he used to be quite normal before he became a minister”, while another, after hearing his name, said that “isn’t he a famous novelist?”

Earlier in the year, I had a sit-down interview with the then Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (who also is the same age as Kevin Bacon).

He was telling me of the Malaysia’s efforts in trying to build and develop the infrastructure in order to improve the speed and quality of the Internet.

Ahmad Shabery also stressed on how the ministry was trying its best to create an environment which would bring prices to a more competitive rate.

Hmm… now I’m wondering if Salleh was given a proper handover report from his predecessor.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

Journalism and the news need to be more honest, not objective


More engaging journalism – as stated in a posting on the Columbia Journalism Review by Joyce Barnathan, the president of the International Centre for Journalists.

What she means is that the way news is presented these days needs to be revised and new rules need to be made up. And I totally agree with what she says. (Err… I’ve been saying for many years now!)

If many people thought that news needs to be presented fast and quick these days to suit social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, then they are not exactly correct (although fast bites like these do have a purpose).

Sites like Vice and podcasts like Serial have shown that in-depth journalism stories do work and are popular. But it has to be presented in such an engaging way that people will be attracted to it.

And the way is to weave the journey into the story.

Most of Vice’s video stories have the reporter involved and participating, much like immersed or submersion journalism. In Serial, reporter Sarah Koenig documented how she pursued the story, a murder case where an allegedly innocent person went to prison.

The younger generation is also tired of this perception that the news is always impartial and objective, because that just isn’t the point. Everyone has an opinion and everyone will be biased in some way, even journalists. The key point is that the news should always be honest.

(A point that I have always stressed too! Read: I’m not an objective journalist!)

Welcome to the new age of journalism.

Gimlet is the most recent podcasting network to be born online… and they want to be like HBO?


Since the last time I wrote about a new online podcast network (If Malaysian podcasters got together, could they form a successful collective like PRX’s Radiotopia?), a new one is here called Gimlet.

Founded by Alex Blumberg of Planet Money (and also a producer at This American Life), it already has a few original shows on offering. Start Up is a show that chronicles start ups going through their journey, Reply All is a show about things on the Internet and Mystery Show is a quirky show about solving everyday mysteries.

And Blumberg feels that going full capitalism is the way to go (just like Ira Glass), which means that he think that advertising money is being floated around more than every right now.

I will say it again… I really hope that podcasting will catch on fire here in Malaysia. I pray to Almighty Allah!

Read a full interview with Blumberg about Gimlet and podcasting at NiemanLab.Org.

And please spend some time listening to some of Fat Bidin’s original podcasts!


It’s even a mistake to do TV-style news online… as the Wall Street Journal has learned

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.12.24 PM

Ha!! More to prove my point that the ways of traditional television is dying! DYING! The Wall Street Journal’s online live TV-style broadcasting has been killed! And now they just want to go on-demand. They have changed their ‘WSJ Live’ to ‘WSJ Video’.

Andy Regal, the executive editor of video at WSJ has this to say:

““People come to the Wall Street Journal when they have time, or need a break or when there’s a big event,” he said. “If we continue to try to drive people to appointment television, it’s just not a workable business model. That’s been proven by most who have tried it.”

It looks like the old ways of appointment and habit viewing can no longer be applied in this day and age. It was obvious from the get go but no huge organisation wanted to listen. They were too set in their ways and thinking that they are the best and almighty.

But it’s good that they’re all realising it now. Better late than never. So it goes that The Washington Post has also scrapped their live PostTV, and so has The Times. Now when will Malaysian TV news start realising the shift in ways?

Go read more about this at NiemanLab.org.

The BBC is thinking of moving their news channel online… TV news is DEAD!!


I told you TV news is dead! Even the BBC are thinking of moving their news channel online. And that channel is the most watched news channel in the UK gets around 8.6 million views. But overall, the number is dropping… fast!

Of course the BBC says that their intentions is to redefine online news….

“What do these figures say to us? They tell us that just as the BBC redefined the news for Britain – first on radio, then on television and more recently online – we must now consider very carefully the prospect that we may need to do so again,” said James Harding, BBC director of news, in a report by The Guardian.


But hey, reality says that their cost is running a tad bit high these days and they need to find ways to either make more revenue or cut spending. In the last BBC annual report, it was stated that the channel’s production costs were £26.8m, while its newsgathering costs were £21.2m.

TV news is dead, I tell you! DEAD!!