The distribution of free tablets under the PerantiSiswa programme for B40 university students has been delayed for at least 1 month, said Communications and Multimedia Minister (KKMM) Annuar Musa.
This comes after the Ministry of Finance (MOF) cancelled the tender given to the initial supplier chosen for the programme, though the minister did not give an explanation as to why the agreement was dissolved by the finance ministry.
However, he stressed that the MOF has the prerogative to do so, as the final call on tenders above a certain amount, including the PerantiSiswa devices, are under the purview of the Finance Ministry.
According to Bernama, Annuar said the tender for the PerantiSiswa initiative has just been reopened.
“Currently we are facing a tender problem and it (tender) has just been reopened, and we expect the tender selection process to be settled by mid-June, and in July, we will begin distributing the tablets to students,” he said.
Meanwhile, Annuar also announced that the ministry has expanded the criteria of eligibility to receive the PerantiSiswa tablets to include B40 students at Teacher Education Institution (IPG) under the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Besides that, B40 students in the institution under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), namely the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) will also be included in the list of eligible applicants.
Under the PerantiSiswa programme, over 100,000 initial units will be distributed to over 200 universities nationwide beginning mid-July. The programme itself will benefit around 400,000 students in the B40 category in our country.
However, it is important to note that PerantiSiswa is a loan scheme, which means that students will eventually have to return the devices to their respective universities after graduating instead of being allowed to keep the units.
As of yet, the government has not 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.