MCMC: Sabah and Sarawak could better internet connectivity from Indonesia’s capital shift

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak Indonesia's plan to move its capital from Sumatra to Kalimantan may potentially benefit Sabah and Sarawak through improved internet infrastructure. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak Indonesia's plan to move its capital from Sumatra to Kalimantan may potentially benefit Sabah and Sarawak through improved internet infrastructure. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 19 ― Indonesia's plan to move its capital from Sumatra to Kalimantan may potentially benefit Sabah and Sarawak through improved internet infrastructure, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said.

He told a press conference that the move will provide an opportunity for Malaysia's two states on the Borneo island.

“If and when Indonesia moves its capital to Kalimantan, the spillover effect or rather the infrastructure support (can be obtained) from the states of Sabah and Sarawak,” said Al-Ishsal.

He explained that since Sabah and Sarawak borders Kalimantan, submarine cables and fibre networks in the Borneo would also lead to better facilities in the East Malaysian states.

He pointed out that if Malaysia could capitalise on the increased data flow to the Borneo, it could become a regional hub for internet traffic and displace Singapore.

Al-Ishsal also said Sabah and Sarawak would be able to access larger e-commerce opportunities in the event Indonesia moves its capital to Kalimantan.

On August 26, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo or Jokowi, confirmed that an unnamed site in East Kalimantan, the richest and most bustling of the five provinces, would replace Jakarta as the country’s new administrative capital.

The new capital will straddle the regions of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara in Indonesia’s province of East Kalimantan on Borneo and its worth is estimated to be around RM138.7 billion.

Commenting separately on broadband connectivity along the Pan Borneo Highway, Al-Ishsal promised that the digital infrastructure development will match the highway's construction.

“When stretches (of the highway) is ready, we hope coverage is ready in parallel. They are working in blocs and we are ensuring that there is connectivity (once the highway is completed),” he said.

He explained that the highway will have a minimum of 3G to 4G coverage.

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