Communications Ministry: Huawei still contender to set up first 5G network in Malaysia

People walk past a Huawei sign at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai June 14, 2018. — Reuters pic
People walk past a Huawei sign at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai June 14, 2018. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Ali Mohamad Nor today said that telecommunications giant Huawei is still in contention to be the first to set up a 5G network in Malaysia.

This is despite some Western nations accusing Huawei of espionage and banning equipment manufactured by the company.

“Until there’s proof of the allegations from the West regarding Huawei’s ‘shady’ practices, we in the Ministry are neutral on who can and cannot set up the 5G network in Malaysia,” said Mohd Ali when met at the ministry headquarters in Putrajaya.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is currently the leading expert in 5G technology but has been accused of using its expertise and back-door channels to provide the Chinese government with information obtained from its users and telecommunications networks.

It was supposed to be the pioneer in setting up a 5G network in Malaysia, with Putrajaya and Cyberjaya chosen by the ministry as the testing grounds.

However, as the spying allegations grew, the government then tasked the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) with checking Huawei’s alleged involvement in espionage activities.

“The MCMC is still investigating the allegations but the problem is a lack of information,” said Mohd Ali.

“In fact, on our side, we’re ready to test the network and have invited many interested groups to have discussions with the ministry on how to implement it.

“The plan is still for Putrajaya and Cyberjaya to roll out the 5G network by this year, and as long as there is no concrete evidence to support what the United States is claiming, our stand is neutral,” added Mohd Ali.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad previously said Malaysia would not make decisions regarding Huawei’s involvement simply by following the lead of other countries.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister, Eddin Syazlee Shith, visits a booth during the launch of Safer Internet Day 2019 in Putrajaya February 13, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister, Eddin Syazlee Shith, visits a booth during the launch of Safer Internet Day 2019 in Putrajaya February 13, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Meanwhile, the Communications Ministry and CyberSecurity Malaysia today launched the Malaysian edition of Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019 at the ministry’s headquarters.

SID is an awareness programme aimed at Cyber Wellness, Digital Health and Digital Etiquette for those aged between 15 and 30 years old.

Its goal is to deter cybercrimes such as fraud which had 5,123 reported cases last year, 1805 intrusion attempts, 1,700 cases of malicious code and 356 incidents of ‘Cyber Harassment’.

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