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KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — The Finance Ministry has appointed Treasury secretary-general Datuk Asri Hamidon as the chairman of Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the special purpose vehicle that will auction off the 5G spectrum in the country.
In a statement, it said several others have also been appointed to DNB’s board of members.
These include Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit director-general Datuk Seri Yusof Ali, former Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi and noted lawyer and businessman Datuk Muthanna Abdullah.
Former Astro Holdings Berhad and Maxis Berhad senior executive Augustus Ralph Marshall was also appointed as DNB’s chief executive officer.
“The combination of these professional appointees with specialisation in sectors such as public finance, telco regulatory, telecommunications, information technology and legal provides the right mix of skills and experience to build, own and manage Malaysia’s 5G network for nationwide commercial rollout,” said the ministry, adding that DNB’s senior management team will be announced in due course.
The organisation will offer 5G services via a wholesale model regulated to ensure better transparency and implementation, with an open tender process for the 5G infrastructure development, and global best practices to ensure proper controls.
“All telecommunications service providers will have open, fair and equal access in obtaining wholesale 5G network services for the development of retail services based on 5G technology,” it said.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said it is vital for Malaysia’s 5G network to be deployed as quickly, systematically and professionally as possible.
“This will accelerate our growth initiatives through MyDIGITAL, which aims at ensuring socio-economic progress and inclusivity for all Malaysians.
“Playing catch-up is not an option as the world increasingly embraces technology such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and digital twin to create fresh opportunities for future growth,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul was referring to the country’s digital blueprint, which was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on February 18.
“The government looks forward to working closely with the private sector players in the domestic telco industry, to help Malaysia realise its 5G aspirations.
While DNB focuses on 5G infrastructure investments the private sector players can focus on developing better products and services, without being saddled by heavy and duplicative capital expenditure.
“This is a win-win situation for all parties, including the telco players, businesses and consumers, as we focus our efforts on being 5G-ready by the end of this year,” he said.