PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) are likely to hasten widespread migration to the internet by five to 10 years, according to experts.

The current health crisis has shown that people have become more dependent on the internet for everything, such as education and business, said Commerce.Asia founder and executive chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah

You can see that many business transactions are already being done online, but now people are also forced to use it for work and study,” he told theSun.

He said the government should consider upgrading the infrastructure to meet an expected increase in internet usage.

Ganesh said with full mobile internet penetration across the country, the digital divide between the rural and urban areas will no longer be so apparent.

“Many people have been using their mobile phones to go online and conduct their daily activities. They can even use software like Zoom to have online classes through their mobile phones.”

He also urged the government to relax regulations on e-commerce and warehousing to enable online businesses to operate at full capacity.

Malaysia Internet Exchange chairman Chiew Kok Hin agreed that the government has already done “a fair bit” to ensure internet coverage in rural areas.

He said once the MCO is lifted, the government should collaborate with private internet service providers and offer them incentives to roll out internet and mobile coverage in rural areas. “The crisis have shown that internet coverage should be regarded a basic essential utility for all,” Chiew said.