Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has revealed more details for the PerantiSiswa programme which will provide free tablets to B40 students studying in institutions of higher learning. The PerantiSiswa programme was announced during the tabling of Budget 2022 and it will be carried out by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Higher Education.
PerantiSiswa applications will be open from mid-April
According to Annuar Musa, eligible students can submit their applications online starting from mid-April, while deliveries for the tablets are expected to start in early June. He added that the second phase of distribution will take place 2 months later in August. The Communications and Multimedia Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry will also introduce an online platform to make applications for PerantiSiswa as easy as possible.
Annuar Musa also said he expects some incomplete or missing applications due to incomplete data, and the appeal process should happen immediately. To overcome the challenges, there will offer a way for eligible students to appeal based on merit and he hopes that various parties can help to verify the appeal such as Members of Parliament, State Assemblypersons, district officers, education officers, and the relevant institutions. Ultimate, he said the goal is to ensure there are no eligible students being left behind. According to the Minister’s statement, a family is classified as B40 if the average monthly household income is below RM4,850.
Minimum hardware requirement for PerantiSiswa tablets
Annuar Musa said the PerantiSiswa tablets are of good quality with similar, if not better specs than what’s being offered in the market. He stressed that the Ministry will not compromise on quality as the devices are meant to help students with their studies.
During the press conference, he shared the minimum hardware requirements which include a screen size of at least 10.1 cm (we reckon this should be inches) and it will be equipped with a keyboard and stylus. He also said the devices will come with at least 4 (GB) RAM, which is more than the usual 2GB or 3GB RAM.
The minister said these are not just regular tablets but devices that are meant for day-to-day use at their respective institutions. He said the procurement for the tablets will be carried out in a transparent and meticulous manner.
If there are additional units, the Ministry proposed reserving 10% of the units for special cases such as students from lower-income groups who are not under the diploma or bachelor’s degree category. This could include post-graduate students or Ph.D. students who can’t afford devices.
When the PerantiSiswa initiative was announced last year, the Ministry of Finance has allocated a budget of RM450 million to purchase tablets for all B40 students studying in institutions of higher learning. The programme is expected to benefit 600,000 students.
PerantiSiswa Tablets tied to a contract?
If the budget and targeted allocation remain unchanged, the government can only afford to fork out RM750 per tablet, which is quite a stretch to procure quality tablets with keyboard and stylus included. The MCMC has said in November last year that the PerantiSiswa tablets will be offered via participating telcos which include Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia and YTL Communications. From the looks of it, the PerantiSiswa tablets are likely offered as part of a telco contract package similar to the free smartphone offering under Pakej Keluarga Malaysia.