Being on lockdown can be boring. After a few days go by, you’ll probably resort to a cycle that involves just eating, sleeping and repeating.
After all, there’s only a limited number of activities that you can do while being stuck in your own house.
The Malaysian government has heard the struggles of all of its 32 million residents and decided to gift them with something that would raise their spirits a little.
Malaysian Government Will Provide Free Internet Till End Of Lockdown
No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Joke, though it really starts on April Fool’s Day.
From 1 Apr all the way until the end of Malaysia’s nationwide lockdown, or technically known as the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Government will be working with telecommunication services to provide free internet to all their customers.
The MCO, which began on 18 Mar, is a partial lockdown which aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Malaysia. It was initially supposed to end on 31 Mar, but has since been extended until 14 Apr 2020.
This means that Malaysians will be able to enjoy free internet for two weeks.
Unless…the MCO extends again. Which, hopefully, it won’t. But we don’t know what will happen in that case.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Friday, 27 Mar, that free internet would be offered to all existing consumers under the economic stimulus package.
The PRIHATIN Package
The RM250 billion (~SGD$82.4 billion) Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) aims to help those affected by the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
“This PRIHATIN package will provide immediate assistance to lessen the burden of all (affected by Covid-19 crisis),” Mr Muhyiddin Yassin said.
“Among the special packages to be offered is free internet for all customers at the value of RM600 million starting April 1, 2020, until the movement control order is over.”
The government is also planning to allocate another RM400 million to be invested in increasing the coverage and capabilities of networks to ensure their availability and quality.
They have also set aside an additional RM530 million to give discounts on electricity bills for all consumers in stages.
U.S. Telcos Not Terminating Services of People Who Can’t Pay Bills
And it seems like Malaysia isn’t the only country that is providing free internet.
Major internet service providers in the U.S. like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications, have decided not to terminate the service for subscribers for the next 60 days, even if they are unable to pay their bills.
This comes after many Americans started working from home, losing their jobs and earning lesser money than how much they used to before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Pssst…Starhub and Singtel, are you hearing this?
The Singapore government has also come up with their own ways to help citizens, through the Resilience Package. It allows some adult Singaporeans to get up to $900 in cash, and you can find out more about it here.
Meanwhile, Malaysia currently has 2,161 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 26 deaths. 259 patients have recovered and been discharged, while the remaining 1,876 are active cases.
In Singapore, we now have 732 confirmed cases.