Penang Free WiFi
Penang Launches Free WiFi
The Star Wednesday January 21, 2009 By ANDREA FILMER and TAN SIN CHOW
Penang launches free WiFi despite opposition
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Free WiFi project was launched Wednesday as three test sites in the state opened for business.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng launched the test-drive promotion period at Komtar saying the state was pushing on with its initiative despite opposition from certain quarters.
"After hearing all the evidence, we have found claims that WiFi could be dangerous to the health unsubstantiated so we are proceeding full swing with the project," Lim said in a speech.
He added that experts at the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and National Nuclear Agency, along with research by the World Health Organisation, had all concurred that WiFi exposure had no proven health risks.
"If WiFi is harmful, the first two people to get fried by radiation would be Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi and myself as we work up to 12 hours a day at our offices on Komtar's 28th floor where there are four hotspots. We are exposed to WiFi 24 hours a day as we have wireless facilities at home and although I might look old, do I look unhealthy?" Lim quipped.
He added that promotional booths at the Komtar concourse and ground floors of Queensbay and Bukit Jambul Complex would be open until Friday. Wei Chuan Beng, group managing director of public-listed company REDtone International Berhad which was initiating the state Penang Free WiFi project, said 25 hotspots would be set up by the end of February, up to 300 by March next year.
Earlier in the morning, several residents and representatives of primary school parent-teacher associations in Air Itam expressed their concern over telco towers in the area.
"We are not against the state wireless project but what we want is the relocation of such towers to somewhere far away from schools and residential areas. The children's health is our utmost concern and we do not want potentially hazardous telco towers, WiFi or Wimax radio frequency emissions in the area," SJKC Shang Wu Parent-Teacher Association chairman Ong Bee Lay said at a press conference near the school.
She said there were currently three telco towers in the area, and claimed that many renowned scientific researchers worldwide had proven that such emissions could pose a threat to human health and cause cancer.
People, especially children, senior citizens and those with illness were sensitive to such emissions that may cause their health to deteriorate, she said.
"We will launch a petition on Friday in front of Shang Wu and SK St Xaviers before and after school hours to collect signatures from parents and teachers to support us," Ong said, adding that an ad-hoc committee under the name "Against Telco Towers and Wireless Transmitter of Race Course Area" would be set up on that day.
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