1Email: Worst Case Scenario


(Dealing with “not so up-to-date with latest technology” government servants on official business can be tricky at times – especially when things are not so clear like the use of free, secured emails for official communications. Image source: Flickr)

It may not happen but still, this is the Bolehland that we are talking about. Whilst it is still too early to pour cold water on the myemail initiatives, here’s something we fear may happen.

One fine morning in a Government department sometime in the future…

Tax-payer: Good morning, I would like for my statements to be sent through my personal email since it will be easier for to retrieve it when I am traveling.

Govt Officer: No problem sir, please provide us with your myemail address and we will update our system immediately so that you can get statements effective next month

Tax-payer: Sorry, I don’t have one but I have others like Google email, Yahoo email and MSN email addresses.

Govt Officer: Sorry but we don’t accept other type of emails. You know, because it involves sensitive information, we need to be sure that email provided is secured. As you may be aware by now, myemail account has an authentication service which includes a MyKad-based authentication service layer

Tax-payer: But the other emails are secured as well. Google is one of the leading IT Company in the world which provides the widely used email facility. Certainly they would have taken care of email security before they rolled it out way back in 2007. Certainly 193.3 million users around the world including corporate users could not have gone wrong.

Govt Officer: Err, ok but you will get 25GB of email storage free – that is a lot compared to your gmail’s measly 7GB.

Tax-payer: 7GB is more than enough for me. I don’t intend to keep my sensitive information sitting idle on cyberspace. Once I receive the email, I intend to download or copy over the statements into my 2TB external hard-disc and have a backup somewhere.

Govt Officer: Hmmm, but if you want your statements via email, you still need myemail address.

Tax-payer: But it was announced that myemail is not compulsory and the public is allowed to use own personal emails

Govt Officer: I don’t know about that – I am just telling what you need to do. You know – orders from upstairs.

Tax-payer: Aiseh, leceh lah. Ok, ok…I will register for myemail – damn, I need my statements via email.

Tax-payer: By the way, the registration and use of myemail is free of charge, right?

Govt Officer: Err, ya, it is free in a way. The myemail provider will charge this department 50 cents per email sent.

Tax-payer: Ya, now I remember reading about it. If you accept my Google email address, you need not pay anything. As I recall, the myemail provider said that they are targeting something like 5.4 registered users. 5.4 million x 50 cents (silently doing a mental calculation)…means RM2.7 million per year per email sent. That is at very minimum. Why anyone want to waste RM2.7 million for nothing?

Govt Officer: Sorry, I cannot comment on that. I still need a valid myemail address before we can send you statements via email

Tax-payer: Damn!

I am NOT saying that Malaysians will be somehow be “forced” to subscribe myemail sometime in the near future – we are pretty that the Government will be sensible and intelligence enough to recognize that there are better options out there – options that is far less cheaper than the current proposed option.

However, in the past years, we have seen enough flip-flops from the Government to make us to swallow the “1email for all which will be on a voluntary basis and huge savings for the Government” propositions with a huge doubt

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1Email Parody


Damn, this is a good one! Click here for details

On the other side of the spectrum, Tricubes Bhd has confirmed that it will charge government agencies about 50 cents for every email sent to Malaysians who are account-holders. The irony of things is if you charge the government, you are charging the tax-payers indirectly. So, why need all this nonsense where there are free, secured email options available out there.

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Email for Everyone

Email for Everyone?


UPDATE 1: Some of the questions raised has been answered in this FAQ by Tricubes Bhd but still, it is a real wonder why spend so much on something is available for free even it involves sensitive information

UPDATE 2: 05.10.2011 – Loss-making Tricubes Bhd has managed to sign up only 3,000 users for the free web-based myemail.my service — some six months after the company was picked to launch the service. CEO Khairun conceded that the target now looked “very, very stretched,” although he remained confident that the service will get “a couple of million” subscribers by the end of next year (Source)

Back to the original post

(Is there a real and valid reasons to have email address? How about when the Government have decided to create one email for all Malaysians? Image source: http://www.itsngenius.com)

You have read about it in the papers by now and you may be in a state of disbelief.

From Malaysiakini:-

Local IT player Tricubes Bhd will invest RM50 million in the 1Malaysia Email Project to provide an account each for official purposes, to all Malaysians aged 18 and above.

“We will focus on delivery of notices and bills, MYEG is about online payment,” CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar told a press conference after the announcement. However the description of the project in handouts distributed during the event, said the 1Malaysia email and portal will be a ‘one-stop centre for government services, providing value-added services such as social networking, checking bills online and payment’.

Khairun also said that his company will own the portal and email infrastructure once it is completed sometime in July. However, he failed to address a question as to how the company will recoup the millions of ringgit in investment. It was also not apparent how having an email system as an Entry Point Project (EPP) will help to drive Malaysia’s transformation to a high-income nation.

I still recall when I got my very first email address 10 years ago. It was a hotmail email, first opened to the public in 1997 and with an email address in my pocket, my steps into the online world looked complete (it was not but back then, I was ignorant on what the internet has to offer as well). The hotmail email was my personal email which I used to communicate with my friends. I also had a company email for formal communications. Fast forward to the present day, it will be almost impossible to get on with working life without an email address (I have 3 email addresses now – 2 personal and 1 company emails).

Yes, it will be difficult to get on with our daily routine and communications without a proper email address. And yet, there are some of us without any email address (one good example, my parents). They don’t see the point of having one – they are not applying for any job online and for communications, they just rely on a good phone call and for official businesses, they rather go to the government office and get things done.

So, it may sound good if the Government is taking the initiatives to get an email address for all Malaysians above 18 years old but there are some questions that need to be answered before we, as the tax-payers and probably the end-user of this 1Malaysia email, can roll out the red-carpet.

1. Before we can even talk about emails, first ask – is high speed internet available for all and at the right rate – enough for lower income Malaysians to use on a regular basis? No point having an email address if you cannot retrieve your emails. No doubt the Government has been working hard to roll-out high speed and cost effective broadband services for all but have all areas have high speed, cheap internet in place?

2. Ok fine, let’s assume we have cheap and fast internet available, what is the percentage of Malaysians without any email address? Is it that bad that the Government had to take the steps to provide Malaysians with one? When most of us have a Facebook account these days, what more of a more basic thing called email? If I already have a valid & working email address, can I decline having this dubious 1Malaysia email?

3. RM50 million may be invested by Tricubes Bhd but how they going to recover this huge investment and cost of maintenance? Some form of reimbursement from the Government? Some form of yearly fees charged to the end-users? Intrusive advertisements in emails? Or tax-payers’ money? These days you register for email from Microsoft, Yahoo or Google for free. Why need to spend RM50 million to create emails for Malaysians then?

4. Just how secure is this 1Malaysia email? I am not talking about secure from hackers and spasm – I am sure that all this would be in place before it is rolled out to the public. I am talking about secure to the end-users. Imagine emails of all Malaysians which contain sensitive information & communications with Government all in one place, controlled by one private company. What is the guarantee that the contents of the email will remain private and not opened for scrutiny by certain Government agencies?

And here’s more trouble news with the whole affair:-

Tricubes Bhd’s RM50 million contract to develop the 1 Malaysia email service could be the financial lifeline of the information technology firm which is at risk of being delisted from Bursa Malaysia as early as October 29 unless it gets its finances in order.

(Source)

Does it sounds like a bail-out? How a company who cannot manage its own finances is entrusted to manage millions of sensitive emails belonging to all Malaysians? Having email address no doubt is necessary and also essential but there are far more important things.

A friend IM-ed me with this interesting but valid point this morning “Sarawakians in the interior with no electricity, education, water, health support and welfare but they have government-granted email accounts that they can’t access. Bull”. A point well made!

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Evolution of Asking Direction


They say men don’t stop and ask for directions – hence invitation email with directions in detail.

(Cartoon source: http://www.giscussions.blogspot.com)

An invitation email that arrived in my in-box this morning. Similar emails are sent on monthly basis but looking back at the past emails, I could see a trend of how to tell people how to reach the “place”. Long time ago, direction was simply absent from such emails.

(The latest way to tell directions – GPS coordinates in emails)

Then when a lot of people turn out late, often getting lost on their way, emails were upgraded with simple Ms Word’s lines and arrows map. Still, there were people got lost and came in late. Then when Google Map came into picture – a screen shot of the Google Map is pasted along with the email. Then soon after, a small improvement – a link hyper-linked to Google Map site in the internet.

The latest – GPS coordinates. I wonder what would be next.

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No Access Lor


This was rather interesting…

In Thoughts

Last Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of Iran’s storming of American Embassy in Tehran and taking 52 people as hostage for 444 days. Apparently this event is celebrated on yearly basis in Iran. However this year, such ‘celebration’ was also used by the oppositions here to protest against the ruling party.

Our driver told us that there will be protest when he came to pick us in the morning. He said that it is a yearly event here in Iran. Then when we were at work, news of the protest getting violent began to filter in.

ABC News reported:-

Iranian protesters took to the streets today as they do every Nov. 4 to mark the 30th anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover.

But this year, opponents of the Iranian regime used the government sanctioned day of street demonstrations to challenge the hard line administration.

We had no interest on Iranian politics but the problem was strange things began to happen.

Mobile phones began to lose its coverage. Access to certain websites like Gmail, Twitter, IM Chat sites and some news agency sites began to be denied. Somehow access to blogs was still allowed but we did not know for how long this access would be allowed.

Mobile coverage came back online sometime late in the evening (depending on which operators, of course)

Whilst we understand why certain websites are being denied access by the Government, what we don’t understand is that why access to our office mails are also being affected. Some flash based web pages are also failed to work. We had a hard time communicating with our colleagues back in Kuala Lumpur on system related issues.

I guess for now we just have to get used to the unannounced web access restrictions whilst we are in this country. We just hope that there are no future demonstrations planned for the next few weeks, otherwise it is going to have serious implications on our communications back to Malaysia.

As at today, the access to certain sites is still restricted….a dreadful thought if this is to happen in Malaysia

A Letter from FBI


(Image source: http://www.norcalblogs.com)

Got this in my inbox the other day and it started as follows…

Anti-Terrorist and International Fraud Division.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation.

935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW.

Washington, DC 20535

The starting of the email sounded very serious and I started to wonder whether my ‘dark’ activities have been detected. As I continued to read further, I then got the joke when I read this:-

This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $800,000.00 USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via a Certified Cashier’s Check.

I must say that the 419 scam crooks are getting bold and creative but they should not have used ‘redmail’ email extension for their agent’s email address – bold and creative but not intelligent enough.

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