By Redzuan Omar
LATE last month, the government announced plans to develop a 5G infrastructure to propel our country at par with other information, communications and technology (ICT) developed nations in the world.
Malaysia needs to beef up its ICT infrastructure to compete with countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore and Japan as part of our efforts to attract investors.
Having a stable ICT platform is very important in every country in order to attract the investments.
Nothing wrong with that except that the government had announced plans to develop the 5G infrastructure without any open tender.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been set up but more details need to be disclosed as this whole 5G project cost RM15 billion.
Here are some concerns on this plan
Granted that the 5G project will be monitored by the SPV.
But who will then monitor the SPV?
In its expose, The Sarawak Report said how can the SPV guarantee that the SPV will not become 1MDB 2.0?
The 5G project is overpriced?
There are also concerns that the project is way too expensive.
Why should the rakyat’s money be used to fund a project that should become the government’s responsibility in the first place?
Where the haste to cough up the money?
At first, the money needed for this project is 15 percent over 2 years.
It was quickly inflated to RM50 million which quickly ballooned to RM500 million in less than 2 months.
Why the hurry? And who is going to fork out all of this cash?
Why no mention in Parliament?
Another strange factor about this whole deal is its relative muteness.
There was no mention about the 5G project in Parliament.
Furthermore, it was not mentioned at all in the Covid-19 preparations or economic stimulus package.
The Huawei Factor
With no open tendering taking place, China’s Huawei is suddenly in the picture.
The SPV called Digital Nasional Berhad did not give any inkling at all on how Huawei got into the picture.
This does not reflect well at all with corporate transparent Malaysia.
The Sarawak Report also alluded to the fact that Digital Nasional chief executive officer August Ralph Marshall, is wanted for corruption charges outside of Malaysia.
How this will bode well for Malaysia remains to be seen as Marshall has to toe a lot of lines to make this initiative take off.
Perikatan Nasional must step in
Due to the numerous questions unanswered and unchecked, it is best that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin step in now and take the bull by its horns.
It is still not too late to save the country from sinking into another 1MDB part 2 all over again.