Quit Lobbying For 5G Contract Through Media, Says Fahmi

Digital Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil has issued a stern warning to companies against going to the media to lobby for government contracts to provide 5G network equipment in the country. 

This is after it was reported that Huawei is fighting for a role in building the broadband cellular network here despite Malaysia having already awarded its Swedish competitor Ericsson the multi-billion ringgit contract in 2021. 

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Fahmi insisted that he would neither pay any attention to such a move nor be influenced by the published reports. 

“As a government that upholds the rule of law, we also respect the sanctity of contracts. If there are contracts that have been inked, we will honour them,” he said during his ministry’s winding-up of the Budget 2023 here today. 

“I would also like to state in the Dewan that my team and I will not entertain lobbying through statements carried either in local or international media. 

“We will not be influenced by it in the aspect of evaluation, negotiation, or review. And if any of the media is listening to my speech, no, stop it, no more lobbying through the media. Enough!”

Fahmi urged all quarters to give the government space to hold its own discussions, while stressing that nothing will sway its stand on the matter. 

“You can table five or 10 pages (of proposals), I won’t read a single word. I’m not reading any of that anymore. 

“What’s in front of me are discussions that need to be done, and I will stick to that.”

Fahmi was responding to questions from Chong Zhemin (Kampar-PH) who wanted to know if the government is currently reviewing the contract awarded to Ericsson as part of its review of the country’s 5G model. 

Chong had also asked about the financial implication to the government if it decides to offer the tender to Huawei instead. 

He cited a Financial Times report that claimed Huawei is currently battling to build 5G networks in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. 

The report noted that the Chinese company is among those lobbying for a role here, after the new government announced a review of the 5G plan approved by the previous administration. 

Fahmi had previously said on February 21 that the cabinet would discuss the country’s 5G roll-out plan by the end of March, including on the role of state-owned Digital Nasional Bhd, The Vibes reported.

On February 24, The Vibes reported that some of the country’s biggest telecommunications companies have made a new bid to bring back the dual wholesale network rejected by the previous government. 

These mobile operators – said to include Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile — are keen to test the resolve of the newly minted government and are said to have made a formal approach for their own 5G network.

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