Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob must renounce the transport ministry’s cabotage policy for the sake of the country’s digital future, says DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
The Bagan MP said Ismail should show that he is different from his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin by prioritising national interests over personal and political matters.
In a statement, he called for Ismail to reinstate the cabotage exemption policy to secure the nation’s digital future, and encourage high-tech digital companies like Facebook and Google not to entirely bypass but to return to Malaysia.
He claimed that transport minister Wee Ka Siong’s policy had “jeopardised digital investments of between RM12 billion to RM15 billion” and led the country to miss out on key undersea cable infrastructure projects undertaken by overseas companies.
“With the government’s own Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman openly castigating Wee for his incompetence and policy failure, why is Wee so stubborn in refusing to heed to reason for the sake of the digital future of our young?”
According to Lim, many in the digital industry had hoped a new transport minister could revoke the cabotage exemption after Muhyiddin’s Cabinet resigned, but this hope was crushed when Wee was reappointed to the transport portfolio on Friday.
In the latest development to the cabotage saga, Facebook and Google’s new subsea cable, aimed at boosting regional connectivity, would bypass Malaysia entirely.
Facebook had said in a statement that the cable system, expected to launch in 2024, would provide an initial design capacity of more than 190tbps (terrabytes per second) to meet rising data demand in the region and support the upcoming Echo and Bifrost cables, which also will not connect to Malaysia.