Sunday, January 30, 2011

Malaysia’s Dumb Politicians Strike Again

The city of Kuala Lumpur orders that, started from next year, all restaurants in the city must provide Wifi service for their patrons. According to the mayor, this decree is in line with Information Technology vision for the nation’s capital.

That sounds like a great idea. Just imagine, I can walk into a kopitiam (Chinese traditional coffee shop), pull out my Motorola Xoom (a.k.a. iPad killer), and read Facebook updates. But wait a minute, kopitiams in KL have just increased the price of drinks in January, 2011. Will the operators use the Wifi order as another excuse to hike the price again? I can foresee that a cup of coffee will cost RM1.60 next year. In any case, kopitiams are not air-conditioned. When mercury rises to 33C, I doubt I want to spend more than an hour there.

Or, imagine that I am meeting my fellow bloggers for the first time in Dragon & Phoenix Chinese Restaurant. As soon as we are seated, Witch immediately snaps photos with her iPhone 5 and uploads them to Facebook; Panda Foong tweets with his Samsung Galaxy Tab; and Tekkaus tracks the latest English Premier League updates with his Blackberry Playbook. The so-called Bloggers’ meeting turns into Internet session…

There is a common problem among governments of Asia – they think they know what is best for the people and what is best for the businesses. The fact is, not all eateries in KL need Wifi service. Such service incurs additional operational cost, and ultimately it is the consumers who bear it.

CEOs of Celcom, DiGi, Maxis, P1 and YTL are probably feeling uneasy with the Wifi order too. The mobile carriers have invested billions of ringgit in infrastructure, but must now compete with mamak stalls.

If restaurant operators believe that Wifi service will help them attract customers, they will certainly provide it. The governments should keep their hands off businesses. Let the market decide!

22 comments:

  1. LOL! Can u see the future? Do you really see me with an iPhone 5?? Hehe.. but you've got a point! Sooner or later, prices of drinks and food will increase again and all because of some unrealistic new rules..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sound futuristic! Interesting to read though, haha...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is definitely a very absurd decision.. how can there be a regulation that force all restaurants to install Wifi??!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. if this is to in line with Information Technology vision for the nation’s capital, then it should be the government's responsibility to build wireless infrastructure in the city, and not the restaurant owners!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. what a lame excuse i really don't agree with.. like you say, why need to add on the burden on the people?? why must restaurant have WiFi?? that's really not appropriate also..

    ReplyDelete
  6. and i really think there sure will be price increase everywhere for something not everybody will use but enforced by the government.. a cup of coffee in kopitian at RM1.60, in cafe RM16 i guess??

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow...me? Holding Blackberry's yet to be released Playbook? Why not? :p

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thought so too. Absurd! It'll be better to let market forces decide and not lay down rules that burden everyone concerned.

    I'm with SK on the govt installing Wifi infrastructure. This would be a more practical approach.

    ReplyDelete
  9. SK, Happysurfer
    If the government itself operates Wifi infrastructure, it will be unfair to Celcom, DiGi etc.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe there are more pertinent issues that deserve a mandatory order than having Wifi service.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Actually most of iPad or smartphone have their data plan with the sim card. Why would they use wifi?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mei Teng
    Yes, agree.

    Leon
    Actually, quite some people buy iPhone (from gray market) without data plan. In any case, data plans often have cap.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 恭喜发财,新年快乐哦!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Does this wifi directive cover warongs under the tree or by the sidewalks?

    Kong Hei Fatt Choy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow! Me with Samsung Galaxy Tab? Haha!! No, no, I only want iPhone! LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah, I agree with you the govt should not force all kopitiam to install wifi. In the end, we the customers gotta pay for it. And of course, the telco companies won't be too happy either.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Eh, no updates in February? Still in CNY holiday mode?

    ReplyDelete
  18. foongpc
    Too busy to update!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Malaysians are stressed and under pressure

    http://voice-of-malaysia.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete