Slow response to 1 Malaysia email beta signup

By Melissa Chi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Thousands are thronging an IT fair in the city but only some 200 have signed up so far for the controversial 1 Malaysia email service, which is entering its beta or testing phase next month.

Tricubes Bhd, which is marketing the 1 Malaysia email service as, has set up a booth at the Pikom Digital Lifestyle Expo at the KLCC Convention Centre for this weekend, where they have been visited by either those curious about the service or wanting to reserve their usernames.

Product Manager Amir Shariffuddin told The Malaysian Insider that the pre-registration started last month at the National ICT Conference 2011 at the Putrajaya International Convention Center (PICC), although he did not provide the total number of registered users to date.

“It is not just an email. It is a whole platform of information flow. It is also the official electronic correspondence between the government and the rakyat,” he said.

When asked if Myemail messages sent to government officials will get priority over those sent using other email services, he said “probably”.

Amir stressed that the service would make it is easier and faster for the government to send official documents to the users.

Among the benefits listed in an informational leaflet on Myemail are that it replaces paper bills with digital versions in portable document format (PDF); provides a “marketplace” where exclusive deals are offered to Myemail users; introduces social networking access through the email “dashboard”; provides an email inbox and access to online payment services; and allows direct access to Microsoft Office files.

The 1 Malaysia email service, which was supposed to start beta service at the end of April, has been marketed as a move that will reduce the use of paper and save the government RM200 million over 10 years.

The project has been met with scepticism by some Malaysians, who question to the redundancy of the facility. Most adults with Internet access have at least one personal email and another for work or education purposes.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Tricubes aims to sign up at least 20,000 users for its beta phase although it has yet to secure any government or private sector agencies to test the payment gateway.

Hamidreza Ghotb, another Tricubes representative at the booth, explained that the e-payment and paperless bills will only be available to government agencies as well as government-linked companies this year.

“Its (Myemail’s) ability is limitless. You can incorporate Facebook and everything you can imagine, with Myemail,” he said, adding that the possibility will happen “some time in the future”.

Myemail also promises security, cost-saving, convenience, fast delivery, and a green solution. The catch is, however, those signing up for the email service will have to buy a USB biometric device sold by Tricubes or go to any National Registration Department (NRD) office to use the additional services offered, on top of the emails.

Tricubes chief executive Khairun Zainal Mokhtar had also said the USB device would also allow Myemail users opt for the more secure end-to-end data encryption for an additional fee, which he described as “a fraction of the cost”.