Salleh, who celebrates his first anniversary in helming the Communications and Multimedia Ministry tomorrow, said the people should know how to manage differences in opinion or dissent as it is important in sustaining national stability and prosperity.
“Knowledge, mature thinking, constructive criticism and an informed society can help drive the national agenda to promote patriotism, unity, harmony, tolerance and respect for one another.
“I personally believe that differences of opinion are acceptable and should be welcomed. Differences of opinion need not lead to disunity and feelings of hatred,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama in conjunction with his one year of helming the ministry, here.
Salleh, 59, who holds a PhD in Politics and Government from Universiti Putra Malaysia, has vast experience in the country’s politics.
He was the Chief Minister of Sabah from Dec 28, 1994, to May 27, 1996, and has also held various portfolios in the Sabah Cabinet.
Just last week, he was appointed as the Umno treasurer, taking over from Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah who relinquished the position in June.
On complaints from the people regarding the speed and coverage of the Internet, Salleh said the government is continuously expanding and improving digital infrastructure on the realisation that communications are vital for developing knowledge-intensive industries and accelerating economic development.
“I am giving priority to improving Internet access through the high-speed broadband projects, the High-Speed Broadband 2 (HSBB2) and Suburban Broadband (SUBB).
“As of now, the broadband speed has increased with the availability of 1.9 million ports under HSBB and HSBB2, benefiting 3.1 million premises,” he added.
As for the expansion of 3G Mobile Broadband coverage, he said a total of 1,392 locations in the country have been upgraded to 3G Service.
He said the expansion of the Fibre Optic Network or 1Malaysia People’s Cable System (SKR1M), which involves the installation of fibre optic submarine cable between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak will be able to provide speedier communication.
“I am proud that this initiative has improved Malaysia’s ranking from ninth position in 2014 to eighth in 2015 in the ICT Development Index for the Asia-Pacific region.
“Malaysia also recorded an impressive growth in broadband penetration rate with over 30 million broadband subscriptions recorded in 2015, an increase of 50 per cent from the 20 million in 2014,” he added.
In the remote areas, Salleh said the 1Malaysia Internet Centres or PI1M, which serve as ICT knowledge centres, offering basic Internet access and free training in ICT entrepreneurship, have and were being built.
As of the first quarter of 2016, a total of 675 PI1M had been built, while 164 centres were under construction, he said, adding that they would benefit more than one million users. – Bernama