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MGG: How To Buy A Personal Computer With Pirated Software
By M.G.G. Pillai

21/8/2001 9:08 pm Tue

[NST melapurkan lebih 1,700 syarikat menjual komputer yang terbabit dalam skim milik komputer melalui KWSP telah menipu pelanggan dengan memasukkan perisian yang diciplak. Menurut kementerian hal ehwal pengguna program iru dimasukkan tanpa pengetahuan pembeli. Menurut pegawai kementerian itu 40 pemilik kedai di Imbi Plaza telah diberikan notis mahkamah kerana mengedar perisian cetak rompak.

Skim membeli PC melalui konsortium yang dilantik oleh KWSP ini sebenarnya tidak sesuai kerana harga komputer semakin menurun. Ini bermakna semakin lambat ia dibekalkan semakin banyak untung pekedai. Lagipun banyak yang membeli tanpa melihat benda di dalamnya. Bagaimana mereka tidak tertipu dengan mudahnya?
- Editor

How To Buy A Personal Computer With Pirated Software

It is official: you must wait interminably for your personal computer if you buy it with your EPF savings; What it costs is deducted forthwith and sent to the the middle man, a company called Oda Saja, linked, as one should expect, to those close to the high and mighty of the land, but not delivered to the buyer until months later, if at all. Now the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry says that these personal computers contains pirated software. Vendors, we are told, cheat PC buyers. Mind you, the "culprits", a favourite catchall word of law enforcers, amongst them, cannot escape and the ministry "would not hesitate to charge them." It is a surprise only when they are. The deputy prime minister, no less, said more than 100,000 PCs have not been delivered months after orders were placed.

But we expect confusion in our no-nonsense bureaucrats: the scheme is half-baked and ill-thought-out, as schemes from our government often are. It allows the courtiers, cronies, siblings of the establishment to make money at public expense. The public loses at every turn. You would notice, surprisingly, that you could buy the same machine from the same shop a few hundred ringgit cheaper. Just shop around amongst the officially-appointed EPF scheme vendors. None I checked one day last week provide original software. Nor other than Microsoft Windows. The ministry shouts at the top of its voice, often at cue, about pirated software, usually at the behest of that self-serving animal called Business Software Alliance and its clones.

Is the government serious about rooting out pirated software? No! Otherwise, the likes of Imbi Plaza could not exist. Sabre rattling is how the government threatens pirates. The government has obtained a class injunction against the Imbi Plaza fellows, but most have shifted from there and in a neighbouring plaza they are alive and well. Let us see when the ministry would act against them. If they do, it is for other than to root out piracy. In any case, there is more interest in porno and political videos. Pirated software falls into neither category. The Imbi Plaza fellows view the action against them as the cost of doing business.

It does not root out software piracy nor force people to buy the original. Especially when officially bought computers come with, as the government now asserts, pirated software. When no one cares and no one bothers, nothing changes. Not even the threats we have come to expect from our enforcers. They are all statements of intent with no desire to see it through. So, why am I not surprised that I would get a bum deal if I bought a personal computer with my EPF money? Nor that no one thought through it? Somehow I expect to get pirated software when I buy a computer with Windows on it. Nothing, in other words, changes or would change.

The Business Software Alliance must need 50 times more staff if it seriously wants to root out software piracy; and they must move with bodyguards. It only wants to make a point: arrest a few fellows, force them to buy legal software at list prices, and with that under their hat, it does not care. Otherwise, the BSA would raid the Imbi Plazas throughout the country every day of the year and find that piracy is so well entrenched that dead bodies would be floating in rivers literally. And not only in Malaysia. The government would not admit it. The BSA would not. So, why are we told we must only use legal software? And what has the domestic trade and consumer affairs done about this latest twist to the piracy software scam?

M.G.G. Pillai