Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa has revealed that the distribution of free tablets under the PerantiSiswa programme for B40 university students has been slightly delayed. The reason for this is apparently because the tender from the initial supplier was cancelled, though Annuar did not give an explanation as to why the agreement was dissolved but that the decision was made by the finance ministry.
According to the minister, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has the final say on tenders that exceed a certain amount, including the tablets for PerantiSiswa. He claimed to be in the dark about the details, revealing only that the MoF felt that certain things “should be redone”.
A new tender has since been called and a firm has apparently been shortlisted, but final approval is still required from MoF. The first batch of the tablets, which is expected to go to 60% of the eligible students, was previously planned for a mid-June release but the new tender has now delayed the rollout to mid-July.
The PerantiSiswa programme was first announced under Budget 2022 for a Q2 rollout. Initially, the plan was to get the tablets into the hands of 600,000 students but was then cut to 400,000, although Annuar has since whittled that number down to 350,000.
The second phase of the programme’s distribution which will cater to late applications and appeal cases is planned for an August rollout but with this delay, it’s unknown if this too will be pushed back. Registration for the first phase was opened on 15 April and closed a month later, involving students from both public and private institutions.
It’s important to note that PerantiSiswa is a loan scheme, meaning that students will eventually have to return the devices to their respective universities after graduating instead of being allowed to keep the units. The government has not yet revealed what brand of tablets will be distributed other than it being from a “reputable brand”, but the minimum specifications include a 10.1-inch display, front and rear cameras, and a Bluetooth keyboard and stylus.
(Source: Free Malaysia Today)