Fake USM degrees on sale online for RM4,888 each


Tuesday July 3, 2012

NIBONG TEBAL: Twenty people paid RM4,888 each to a syndicate that sold fake Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) degrees, police investigations revealed.

Penang acting chief SAC II Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaffar said they banked in the money into eight different accounts under the name of a 26-year-old man, one of the three suspects arrested.

He said the syndicate promised to upload the names of the buyers onto a USM database using a special software but then did not even respond to any phone calls after the money had been banked in.

“Initial investigations determined there was no inside job,” he told reporters at the south Seberang Prai district police headquarters in Jawi, near here, yesterday.

 Spot the difference: Prof Omar Osman showing the logo on a genuine USM certificate against an old one on his coat.

SAC II Abdul Rahim said the syndicate might have started its operations about four months ago, adding that the price of a “certificate” signified good luck.

The brains behind the syndicate is a 24-year-old woman, a former USM student.

A police source said that she had a Facebook account offering the fake scrolls which had garnered 516 “likes”.

Besides the former student, a 25-year-old woman and the male suspect were nabbed at a house in Kampar, Perak, on Saturday.

Police seized several computers and a soft copy of a USM scroll in one of the computers.

In GEORGE TOWN, USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Omar Osman said employers could verify with the university if they had doubts over the authenticity of certificates produced by their interviewees.

He advised employers to ask them to show their academic transcripts during the interviews. “Each bears a unique serial number of that undergraduate. This cannot be falsified.

“We also have the Gazetted Graduate Convocation Book, which is a physical database with the particulars of all the graduates.

“We have produced 120,000 graduates since our establishment,” he added.

He said other unique characteristics of a USM certificate included the university’s watermark and seal.

Those who wish to verify the authenticity of USM certificates can contact 04-653 2193 or e-mail pro@usm.my.

By S. ARULLDAS and TAN SIN CHOW newsdesk@thestar.com.my

Ex-student behind fake degrees

Monday July 2, 2012

GEORGE TOWN: The brains behind two online degree mills that allegedly churned out fake Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) scrolls is a former student of the university.

ntv7 – “USM DEGREE FOR SALE” : THREE NABBED IN ONLINE DEGREE SCAM »

Three people have been arrested for selling fake degree certificates online.

A police source said the 24-year-old woman had a Facebook account offering such scrolls and this had garnered 516 ‘likes’.

She and two others – another woman, aged 25, and a man, 26 – were nabbed at a house in Kampar, Perak, on Saturday.

Several computers were seized in the raid. A soft copy of a USM scroll was found in one of the computers.

The source said a younger sibling of one of the suspects could be a USM student.

The university had lodged a police report on the matter, which is being investigated as cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

Vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Omar Osman said the university conducted an internal investigation before lodging the reports with the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on Friday.

The university has since improved the security measures of the university scrolls.

A check by The Star had revealed that a “full degree package” was priced at RM5,888 and was non-negotiable, with the document delivered within a week.

A downpayment of RM400 has to be deposited into a bank account online and a photocopy of the applicant’s MyKad e-mailed before “work” on the degree could begin.

Penang commercial crime investigations chief Asst Comm Roslee Chik said the police were investigating if there are other syndicates selling such university degrees.

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said those looking to get a university degree should earn the qualification.

“As far as I know, USM is the first university in Malaysia that has become the target of such a syndicate,” he said yesterday.

He told reporters at a function in Pasir Gudang that his ministry would study security methods used in other countries to stop syndicates from producing fake degree certificates and selling them to students.

Mohamed Khaled said it was currently difficult to determine if a degree certificate was genuine or not as there was no standard design for it.

By ZALINAH NOORDIN and DESIREE TRESA GASPER newsdesk@thestar.com.my

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Underage and on Facebook


Facebook is mulling over letting children below the age of 13 join its network, but with so many signed up already, what difference would it make?

FACEBOOK’S minimum age should be 21. This argument mooted by CNN blogger John D. Sutter will no doubt get the support of many parents who worry about safety and privacy issues on the social media network. That is, those parents who have not secretly signed up, or helped to sign up, their children on Facebook.

Facebook (FB) already has an age limit 13 years old but the reality is that many “underaged” children already have their own profiles on the site, parents’ consent notwithstanding.

In fact, it is estimated that some 7.5 million children below the age of 13 are currently on FB, out of its total 900 million plus users worldwide.

This shows that the minimum age requirement on FB is just a number. Facebook does little, if anything, to enforce it, and one can simply lie about their birth date to circumvent the rule.

So why the charade?

As suggested by the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news of the social media giant’s plans to open up to tweens and even younger kids, Facebook was feeling the heat from the American authorities in relation to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The Act stipulates that online services catering to children below 13 would need to obtain the consent of their parents before collecting data from them. COPPA also requires that parents be given the ability to review, revise and delete their children’s data.

Hence, with the number of pre-teen children registering on the site growing by day, Facebook knows it can no longer turn a blind eye to its minefield. Coming clean is perhaps its only option in defending itself from any potential legal action.

As it acknowledged in a statement: “Enforcing age restriction on the Internet is a difficult issue, especially when many reports have shown that parents want their children to access online content and services.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself had earlier said he would like to see kids under 13 use FB “more honestly and in compliance with the law”.

“My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age… Because of the restrictions, we haven’t even begun this learning process… If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they (younger kids) are safe…,” he was quoted.

The conspiracy theorists of course say freeing the shackles is one way for Facebook to recoup its losses after a disappointing debut at the share market. Widening its user base will certainly broaden its revenue-raising opportunities, especially in the mobile apps and ad sector, and add to its market value.

Then there is the brand loyalty factor getting them young is the best way to get users hooked for the future, and guard against any possible defection to “cooler” social media networks to come.

Whatever the motive, the reality remains stark there is a high number of active FB tweens and they can no longer be ignored.

Choy: Many parents of children who are being bullied online feel they can’t do anything about it.

Time to Like

As he sees it, officially opening up to the under-13s can be a positive move, says CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Lt Col (R) Prof Datuk Husin Jazri.

“By officially allowing children to sign up, Facebook can keep tabs on how many Facebookers below 13 there are,” he opines.

In Malaysia, for instance, it is no secret that many tweens have their own FB accounts, with most having signed up either with the consent and help from their parents, siblings or close relatives; or by “cheating” Facebook, that is, changing their birth date to make the computer system accept them as above 13.

It is not clear how many Malaysian children are now online but with some 12.5 million Malaysian FB users recorded this year, it is safe to say that there are many.

In fact, global social media and digital analytics company Socialbakers estimated that some 2.2% of Malaysian Facebookers were aged 13 and below last August (around 248, 528). That is a rough estimate at best; with our below-18 population totalling up to 11.2 million (approximately 2.87 million children are in primary school), it is difficult to pinpoint how many FB minors are signed up on a fake age.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi agrees that removing the token age restriction is perhaps the most effective way to protect our children on Facebook.

This will create openness among the tweens and their parents, says Sharil.

“Children will not need to hide that they have FB accounts any more and would be encouraged to share their online experiences with their parents. If they do not bypass the protection measures (as kids nowadays are very IT savvy), the children should get the age appropriate online protection they need against the adult world’ of Facebook,” he adds.

However, both agree that this will only be effective if Facebook fulfils its commitment to introduce a new suite of tools for parents to keep their children safe when they register a FB account and interact on the social networking site.

Sharil, who is also vice-chairman of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council Working Group on Child Online Protection (COP), a specialised organ of the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland, reminds parents that children are minors first and foremost.

“Children under 13 are typically in the primary school group and need extra supervision, guidance and care,” he stresses.

Husin proposes that specific accounts for those below 13 be created with suitable contents and safeguards to enable parents and guardians to continually provide assistance as well as monitor the online activities of these young Facebookers.

Sharil: ‘Children need guidance and supervision. Online tools and technologies can never replace the care and guidance that parents can give’

“Facebook for those below 13 should be categorised as a special account, different from the adult Facebook accounts. They should introduce some kind of system to ensure that the children obtain parental consent before they get accepted to sign up, and whenever a child requests for or accepts a new Facebook friend, parents should be alerted,” he adds.

Dangerous playground

Still, as many parents would be deigned to admit, no matter how vigilant you are, it is still a big bad Web out there.

“Parents can only guide and monitor their children, they cannot really change the environment,” says a father-of-three who only wants to be known as Arshavin.

You will still need the help of the policy makers and service providers, among others, to make the Internet, and specifically Facebook, safe for children, he adds.

“No matter how well-trained or educated your children are, some places are just off limits, even if you go there with them.

“I read this one comment that I think captures it well will you let your elementary school child attend a college or adult party?’. You won’t, right?” he poses, warning that some parents might be lulled by a false sense of security for their children on Facebook if the new ruling is implemented.

Social media specialist Jasmin Choy agrees, highlighting cyber-bullying as one danger for young children on FB. The problem is intensified as many parents are not equipped to deal with it, she says.

“Many parents of children who are being bullied online feel they can’t do anything about it. Then there are those who just don’t know what is happening to their kids in cyberspace, or those who are not giving enough guidance to their kids and are becoming bullies online,” she says.

Opposing the social media network’s plans to open up their membership for children under 13, the mother of two relates a recent cyber-bullying case close to her heart.

“It happened to a friend’s child who is sensitive and fragile. She was already being subtly bullied online when the girls ganged up on her and made her feel like she was stupid. The problem was, the mother didn’t know what to do about it. If she intervened, the daughter would be very embarrassed. On the other hand, if the mum didn’t intervene, these girls would go on bullying her daughter.”

Another red flag for children, she warns, is online porn and sexual predators.

“Many parents have no idea how much porn is being served up to the kids online. They think they have some idea but are often shocked when they discover how accessible porn is to their six- to13-year-olds.”

As Choy highlights, one only needs to go to some of the game apps on FB to receive porn advertisements.

“Many pop up even on innocent-looking Facebook games. Besides, curious kids are going to share images and if there’s FB and Twitter they will see it,” she says, advising parents to “prepare” their children by educating them about the birds and the bees at an early age.

“We can’t be prudish about it. They are going to see it anyway, so why not explain to them before trouble brews.”

The main danger she foresees, however, is the breach of privacy.

“Think about all the times we chatted with a young kid on FB. We must have at least mentioned the child’s name, asked them how their day was… things like that. We tend to forget the dangers when we are having fun online. Bad people can easily glean information from the chats the adults have with young kids on FB posts,” she says.

Choy also strongly believes that pre-teens are particularly vulnerable because most do not have the maturity to handle problems related to FB or be aware of the dangers.

“Even if they are aware of the dangers, they can’t often see the danger in front of them. Even adults don’t react fast enough to FB risks, what more children of that age,” she says.

Along with the threat of paedophiles, there is also worry that young children will be subjected to unscrupulous advertisers and marketers on Facebook, or have their personal data sold to advertisers.

Not surprisingly, Zuckerberg has already been lobbied by a coalition of consumer, privacy and child advocacy groups to keep children’s data confidential and the site ad-free for the below-13s in the United States.

For bank officer Aslina, addiction is her big worry.

“Just like adults, kids tend to spend way too much time on Facebook and can get addicted to it. Instead of studying or socialising with friends and playing games or sports, they will be logged on FB.”

And, cautions teacher Mary K, parents might not be able to withstand another pressure should FB open its doors to pre-teens peer pressure.

“Now they will be pressured to join because all their friends are on it. It will be a difficult time for parents, “ she says.

Arshavin agrees.

“I asked my 16-year-old daughter why she is on FB, and she said it was to watch what her friends are up to. But when I asked her to log off, she just whined about what she would be missing,” he says.

Calling FB a “different beast altogether”, Choy who is a proponent of the Internet as a study tool vows to keep her children away from it as long as she can.

“I really believe all young kids should have access to the Internet. My six-year-old can Google search for any information related to his hobbies or studies at any time with the tablet. YouTube has given him access to various documentaries he can watch and learn from. And why not? Technology and the Internet have made learning exciting. It has allowed my children to think out of the box. I just don’t think they should have an FB account at an early age,” she says.

If parents do decide to let the child open a FB account, she adds, they would need to constantly talk to them about the hazards and teach them good cyber habits.

“Explain over and over again why they should not reveal sensitive information like their names, location of the moment and place of residence. And check, check, check their FB settings,” she stresses.

And constantly but silently read their children’s postings to check for trouble, she adds.

This is something Alina does diligently with her two pre-teen children who are registered on FB.

“In the beginning, I was worried that I was making the wrong decision to let them get their own profiles on FB. But I read up on it and made sure that I know what is in store for them. Then I went through all the safety and security features available on FB with them before we registered.”

Most importantly, she adds, she always reminds them to be as cautious online as they would be in the real world.

Sharil agrees children should be taught as early as possible that rules and regulations exist online just as they do offline, and that there are dangerous areas online just as there are dangerous areas or things in the real world.

It is parents’ responsibility to cultivate security awareness in their children and educate them on safe Internet usage, says Husin.

“Parents must be alert of any unusual activities of their children on the Net and take the appropriate action to rectify if their child gets caught in any undesirable activities online.”

Sharil, however, reiterates that parents are the best judge of whether their child is ready for Facebook themselves.

“It all goes back to the basic skills of parenting and instilling good moral values in their children. Children need guidance and supervision. Only parents can do this effectively. Teachers, NGOs and the broader community can help but they can never replace the parent,” he notes.

Crucially, parents are at the frontlines of their children’s defence, says Sharil.

“Parents should continue to monitor their children’s online activities while encouraging appropriate online behaviour. They should not totally depend on Facebook’s parenting’ facilities. Online tools and technologies can never replace the care and guidance that parents can give.”

Ultimately, he adds, it is extremely important for parents and guardians to become good role models for their children when they are online.

By HARIATI AZIZAN sunday@thestar.com.my

Warning to Malaysian Internet Users: an Amendment to Evidence Act 2012


Onus on account owners as cyber bullies and stalkers often get away because of lack of evidence

PETALING JAYA: “It wasn’t me.” That’s the most common response from people when a hate or threatening message is traced to their Facebook or Twitter or any other Internet account.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission says it is almost legally impossible to take action if all that a person has to do is to deny any responsibility.

“Think of the victims. People who have been slandered or whose lives have been threatened,” commission chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi said, adding that many a time cyber bullies and stalkers who often use “the cloak of anonymity” have got away because of lack of evidence.

“As more of the young are connected online, who is going to watch over these kids when there are real people who want to harm them?” he said in an interview on the amendment to the Evidence Act passed by the Dewan Rakyat last month.

Answering critics who said the amendment was unfair in pushing the burden of proof to the accused, he said that owners of Internet accounts where hate messages had originated could easily rebut charges against them if they were innocent.

“For example, if you can produce witnesses to say that you were nowhere near your computer or any other communicating device at the time the message was sent out, you can get off,” Sharil said.

He added: “It is not easy nailing offenders to the charge. Sometimes you can find evidence and sometimes you can’t.

“At least now (with the amendment), a flat denial (from the accused) cannot work anymore.”

The amendment to Section 114(a) of the Evidence Act includes the following stipulations:

> If your name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting yourself as the author, you are deemed to have published the content.

> If a posting comes from your Internet or phone account, you are deemed to be the publisher unless the contrary is proved.

> If you have the control or custody of any computer which published any material, you are presumed to be the publisher unless proven otherwise.

Asked if the amendment infringed on Internet users’ personal liberties, Sharil said the authorities would still have to carry out rigorous and thorough investigations before charging anyone.

“Then there is the trial processs to go through,” he added.

He admitted that the conviction rate of suspected cyber offenders was very low.

From 2009 to 2011, 625 cases of people making obscene or offensive comments via the Internet or phone were investigated.

Only 16 were brought to court and just three were convicted.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said it was difficult to prosecute offenders before the amendment to the Act.

“It was especially difficult to prosecute offenders because the servers were located overseas.

“Everything was in a mess,” he said, and denied that the amendment was to curb dissent.

“The Government does not want to stifle anyone. But we don’t want people to slander or threaten others,” Nazri added.

By REGINA LEE  regina@thestar.com.my

Amendment not justified, say groups

PETALING JAYA: The amendment to the Evidence Act transfers the burden of proof to the accused, which is contrary to the principle of justice, said lawyers and Internet users.

“At any trial, whether criminal or civil cases, it is up to the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Now the burden will be shifted to the accused to disprove (the allegation against them),” said human rights lawyer Edmund Bon.

He added: “All around the world where there is Internet any reasonable person would be against the posting of hate messages. But whether the Government should step in and take such control is another matter.”

Disputing that the amendment will bring more people to justice, Bon said that it will instead reduce the need for the police and other enforcement agencies to be thorough in their investigations.

He believed that current defamation and sedition laws were enough to curb offensive and criminal messages on the Internet.

Intellectual property lawyer and Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology Committee co-chairman Foong Cheng Leong said the amendment would be a source of harassment to people whose identities have been abused to send offensive or threatening messages.

“Say it is an elderly person who subscribes to the Internet and does not know how to secure his wifi account.

“If someone uses that unsecured wifi to upload all these offensive postings, it’s the elderly man who will get into trouble,” he said.

However, he agreed that it was difficult to trace the author of the offensive material, especially when international servers or public computers are used.

“But changing the law is taking the easy way out,” said Foong, who authored an extensive article about the amendment on the Loyar Burok website. ( See below:Grave repercussions for internet users)

Meanwhile, many have tweeted their disapproval for the amendment, claiming that people would have to “flip over backwards to prove their innocence”.

At the same time, some have voiced their support for the amendment, especially those who have been on the receiving end of hate messages.

“These anonymous writers of hate messages against me are gutless and stupid.

“They help justify the Government’s proposal to amend the Evidence Act,” tweeted lawyer Roger Tan who had been criticised for writing a critique on the recent Malaysian Bar extraordinary general meeting.

Grave repercussions for internet users

The Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 was one of the bills rushed and passed by the Parliament recently. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, when winding up the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2012, said the use of pseudonyms or anonymity by any party to do cyber crimes had made it difficult for the action to be taken against them. Hence, the Evidence Act 1950 must be amended to address the issue of Internet anonymity.

The amendments introduced s. 114A into the Evidence Act 1950 to provide for the presumption of fact in publication in order to facilitate the identification and proving of the identity of an anonymous person involved in publication through the internet. In simple words, s. 114A introduces 3 circumstances where an Internet user is deemed to be a publisher of a content unless proven otherwise by him or her.

Men in masks, beware of s.114A.

Although it is stated that the amendment is to cover anonymous persons on the internet, the effect of the amendment is quite wide. You see, we, especially social media network users, generally do not use our real names on the Internet. We use nicknames and pseudonyms. Our home addresses do not appear on our account. We sometimes use fictional characters or even digitalized images of ourselves as our profile picture. All these are done to protect our own privacy. So, if none of my personal details appear on my account, does this mean I am anonymous? If someone’s identity cannot be directly ascertained from his account, I would think that he would be anonymous.

The new s. 114A(1) states that “A person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host , administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or re-published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved”. In simple words, if your name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting yourself as the aforesaid persons, you are deemed to have published the content. So, for example, if someone creates a blog with your name, you are deemed to have published the articles there unless you prove otherwise. If you have a blog and someone posts a comment, you are deemed to have published it. If you have a Facebook page and an user posts something on your wall, you are deemed to have published it!

Subsection (2) provides a graver consequence. If a posting originates from your account with a network service provider, you are deemed to be the publisher unless the contrary is proved. In simple terms, if a posting originates from your TM Unifi account, you are deemed to be the publisher. In the following scenarios, you are deemed to be the publisher unless you prove the contrary:-

(1) You have a home network with a few house mates sharing one internet account. You are deemed to be the publisher even though one of your house mates posts something offensive online.
(2) You have wireless network at home but you did not secure your network. You are deemed to be the publisher even though someone “piggybacks” your network to post something offensive.
(3) You have a party at home and allows your friends to access your PC or wireless network.You are deemed to be the publisher even though it was a friend who posted something offensive.
(4) Someone use your phone or tablet to post something offensive. You are deemed to be the publisher.

As for subsection (3), you are presumed to have published a content if you have custory or control of any computer which the publication originates from. Here, you are deemed to be the publisher so long your computer was the device that had posted the content. So if someone “tweetjacks” you or naughtily updates your Facebook with something offensive, you are deemed to be the publisher unless you prove otherwise.

Admittedly, the amendments certainly saves a lot of the investigator’s time. It is very difficult to trace someone on the Internet. It will make prosecution for, among others, defamation, offences under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 and Computer Crimes Act 1997 and, election offences much easier. But it is not impossible to trace someone. There are many cases where perpetrators are caught and charged.

The new Bill: to like or not to like? | Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birgerking/

I do not see the logic to deem someone to be a publisher. If an investigator is unable to trace the anonymous internet user, then why should the innocent Internet user take the rap? The onus of proof should always be on the prosecuting side. In the English case of Applause Store Productions Limited & Anor v Grant Raphael [2008] EWHC 1781 (QB), the claimants were awarded £22,000 in damages against Raphael, an old school friend, who had created a false personal profile of the claimants on Facebook. The claimants convinced the Court that Raphael was the person who created the fake profile even though he claimed that he had a party at his house and someone in that party created the account.

In summary, the new amendments force an innocent party to show that he is not the publisher. Victims of stolen identity or hacking would have a lot more problems to fix. Since computers can be easily manipulated and identity theft is quite rampant, it is dangerous to put the onus on internet users. An internet user will need to give an alibi that it wasn’t him. He needs to prove that he has no access to the computer at that time of publication and he needs to produce call witnesses to support his alibi.

Clearly, it is against our very fundamental principal of “innocent until proven guilty”. With general election looming, I fear this amendment will be used oppressively. Fortunately, the amendment is not in force yet. I strongly hope that the government will relook into this amendment.

Posted by Foong Cheng Leong

Aspiring nations gain more from Internet


By JO TIMBUONG
bytz@thestar.com.my

Manuel: “Malaysia derives a lot of income from exporting equipment that allows people to connect to and use the Internet.”

KUALA LUMPUR: Aspiring countries like Malaysia are gaining more from the Internet than developed nations.

The Web helps these countries improve gross domestic product (GDP), better their small and medium enterprises, and boost the creation of new jobs.

Going online helped Malaysian industries contribute 4.1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, making Malaysia one of the 30 fastest growing countries in the world.

Some of the other aspiring countries are Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam.

They were part of an online study – titled Online and Upcoming: The Internet’s Impact on Aspiring Countries – by researchers McKinsey & Co.

McKinsey defines aspiring countries as those that are developing but are at the cusp of becoming a developed nation.

The study found that the Internet contributed US$9.75bil (RM29.7bil) out of a total GDP of US$238bil (RM723bil) for the aspiring countries in 2010. This is far more than what was contributed in the United States and China.

Nimal Manuel, principal at McKinsey, said a big chunk of the GDP contribution in Malaysia came from the IT industry.

“Malaysia derives a lot of income from exporting equipment that allows people to connect to and use the Internet,” he said.

“The country will also see significant growth in the value that domestic activity on the Internet delivers to the nation.”

Manuel was giving a briefing on the economic impact of the Internet on Malaysia.

Booster

Besides contributing positively to the country’s economy, the Internet also helped its small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to make gains.

Manuel said the SMEs in Malaysia and the other aspiring countries that took their businesses online gained over 6% more in revenue than those with only brick-and-mortar stores.

“Thanks to the Internet, these businesses were able to reach new customers in different geographic locations. They also enjoyed a 10% increase in productivity (after embracing technology),” he said.

According to him, this increase in productivity (due to better efficiencies) does not mean decreased job opportunities in the aspiring countries.

“Our study found that for every job lost, 3.2 new jobs were created because of the Internet. And in comparison, for every job lost in developed countries, only 1.6 new ones were created,” he said.

These aspiring countries must not rest on their laurels; they should be making an effort to improve their Internet ecosystems.

Manuel said they need to ensure a high quality and secure infrastructure to better capture the value of the Internet.

The governments need secure servers, in addition to basic infrastructure, such as electricity supply, as well as quality fixed and mobile Internet services, he said.

In response to the recommendations, Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said the Government is championing the quality of Internet services in Malaysia.

“This is an entry-point project under the Economic Transformation Plan, and that shows how serious the Government is on broadband services and issues,” he added.

MCMC is the communications and multimedia industry regulator.

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