Tricubes launches controversial 1 Malaysia email service

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KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia email project, which has drawn public outcry when it was announced in April, is in service.

The project was launched via Facebook last Wednesday, according to Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) director of communications content and infrastructure, business services National Key Economic Area (NKEA), Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek.

It already has 3,050 subscriber signed up for the free email service.

This project is perceived to be the lifesaver for ACE Market-listed Tricubes Bhd, which has been categorised as Guidance Note 3 (GN3) and is due to submit its regularisation plan by the end of next month.

In its regular update to Bursa Malaysia, the IT-based company said it is currently reviewing “various options to meet its obligations under GN3 with its sponsor and targets to submit its regularisation plan by the submission deadline.

According to Fadhlullah, the project has been delayed because Tricubes has worked in parallel to provide “value-added services”. He disclosed that people who subscribed to the email service would also have a means of utilising their value-added services such as bill payments.

“Tricubes has assured me that it will be holding a media session sometime in late September,” Fadhlullah told The Edge Financial Daily, saying that he had been briefed on the progress of the project last week.

“They are moving not as fast as one would want them to, but they are moving. And every single ringgit put into this project is their own money,” he stressed.

Khairun: Email project to be core part of Tricubes' regularisation plan.

To recap, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Tricubes was awarded the 1Malaysia email project in April. The project has been labelled as being under the purview of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The email project could generate a gross national income of RM39 million by 2015 by Tricubes’ RM50 million investment over the next 10 years.

Tricubes CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar earlier said the 1Malaysia email project was a “lifeline” thrown to the company. The project will be the core part of Tricubes’ regularisation plan.

The company has targeted about 5.4 million subscribers by year-end. The government has set a KPI (key performance indicator) of a 50% take-up rate for those above 18 years old by 2012 and 100% by 2015.

The 1Malaysia email address will then be the digital channel for the government-linked organisations to communicate with the public.

There are no charges for the public to open an email account. The proposed business model is to charge the government bodies that want to send their correspondence to the 1Malaysia email addresses. The charges are up to 50 sen every mail being sent.

However, Khairun did not respond to The Edge Financial Daily’s enquires on the updates on the company’s regularisation plan and which government-linked organisations that Tricubes is currently in talks with for the deployment of its email service.

Dr Fadhlullah said the unique selling proposition here, which seems to have been overlooked by all the local pundits, is that the myemail will have a validated database. “When you use one of the free email services such as Gmail or Yahoo, there is no way of knowing that you are who you say you are. With this service, you have been verified. And what’s more, it’s still free.”

Commenting on the controversy that has surrounded this project since it was launched, Fadhlullah said it is up to Tricubes to do a better job in clarifying the situation.

“I told him (Khairun) that now it’s up on Facebook, he has to be ready for people commenting on it, and needs to respond as quickly as possible. We said, don’t wait till the end of the day because negativity could have built up by then.”

Tricubes’ 70%-owned unit TricubesNCR JV Sdn Bhd has recently bagged a one-year RM4.4 million contract from the Ministry of Home Affairs in relation to a project for the Malaysian police.

The company expects the contract to start contributing in FY12 ending March 31.

Tricubes incurred a net loss of RM1.19 million or 0.89 sen per share for 1QFY12 ended June 30 compared with RM485,000 or 0.34 loss per share in the previous corresponding period.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, September 19, 2011.