Internet usage, access surge after Covid-19 peak

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic BLOOMBERG

THE use of the Internet and access by individuals and households increased after the peak of Covid-19 pandemic. 

Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the percentage of households’ access to ICT increased to 95.5% in 2021 compared to 91.7% in 2020. 

He noted that last year, household access to mobile phones and computers also increased to 99.6% and 88.3%, respectively. 

“The implementation of the survey after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic suggested that Internet usage among Malaysians aged 15 and above increased significantly to 96.8% in 2021 compared to 89.6% in 2020. 

“The home-based teaching and learning programme was among the factors that contributed to the increase in Internet usage,” he said in a statement yesterday 

According to Mohd Uzir, the most popular Internet activity in Malaysia last year was participating in social networks. 

He said this was followed by a significant increase for services related to learning activities, civics and politics, e-health, e-government, e-commerce and entertainment. 

Mohd Uzir also said Internet usage for making an appointment with medical practitioners through websites increased to 43.5% in 2021 compared to 10.7% in 2020. 

He added that the percentage of using software through the Internet for editing texts on documents increased 39.9% in 2021 and the percentage of Internet users for posting opinions or voting regarding civics and politics also increased to 41.2% last year. 

Meanwhile, the chief statistician highlighted that 70.5% of Malaysian users used Internet banking in 2021 compared to 61.9% in 2020. 

“Regardless of any platforms of online learning channels through the Internet, individuals who attended a formal online course increased to 29.9% in 2021 from 18.0% in the previous year. 

“Meanwhile, the percentage of individuals referring to websites for formal learning purposes such as Wikipedia and encyclopaedia increased from 40.3% in 2020 to 59% in 2021,” he noted. 

Purchase of goods or services through e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada and Grab increased significantly to 64.7% in 2021. 

Mohd Uzir added that nowadays, entertainment on the web is easily accessible, as this was indicated by the increase in listening to radio online by 64.9% in 2021. 

In terms of using the e-government platform, the percentage of Internet users that interact with government organisations increased to 51.9% in 2021. 

In addition to Internet usage, the percentage of individuals using computers increased marginally to 83.5% in 2021 compared to 80% in 2020. 

“The percentage of individuals using mobile phones recorded an increase to 98.7% in 2021 from 98.2% in 2020. 

“The usage of ICT is becoming a necessity in tandem with current scenarios. Usage of ICT will further accelerate as the country enters into the endemic phase as well as economic recovery,” he said. 

The findings were based on the ICT Use and Access by Individuals and Households Report Survey released by DoSM that presents statistics of the usage and access of ICT by individuals and households. 

The survey was conducted for a three-month period from September 2021 to November 2021 after reopening of selected economic activities in September 2021 and fully opened in October 2021. 

Additionally, during this period, the National Recovery Plan has been implemented and the use of digital technology has been widespread in the daily activities of society.