SHAH ALAM, Sept 3 — The government will ensure the implementation of fifth-generation mobile network (5G) services goes according to plan despite two mobile network operators (MNO) having decided not to take a stake in Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB).

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said following the withdrawal of the two companies, negotiations with four other MNOs will continue and are expected to conclude within two weeks, adding that they involve adjustments in the agreement documents. 

He said this was because the government had decided in the original agreement that the majority (stakeholders) should come from the private sector, but the other four companies do not have 50 per cent (stake),” he told a media conference after the launch of the Keluarga Malaysia Cheap Sale @ De Dagang here today. 

“The companies will also need to go back to their boards as they had initially given approval based on an 11 percent subscription, so if we were to offer more, 15 to 16 per cent, they have to go back to their boards. We have to give them time,” he said. 

At the same time, Annuar said as mentioned by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, the offer is open to other industry players interested in acquiring a stake in DNB. 

“What is important is that the 5G rollout must remain on track to meet the priority of achieving 80 percent 5G coverage in populated areas by 2024,” he added. 

Annuar said if the matter can be resolved within one to two weeks, the related companies can offer 5G services for areas where infrastructure has been completed without delay.

“The Ministry is maintaining the existing planning timeline for the rollout, if possible this month, although if negotiations are until the end of September, then there has to be a rollout in early October.

“I do not want delays or the government’s roll-out plans interrupted because of one or two companies changing their stand. So, we must remain on track,” he said.

It was reported recently that Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd had decided not to take a stake in DNB for the 5G programme. Four MNOs, namely Celcom Axiata Bhd, Bhd, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YES) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) still stand by their respective decisions to be part of the programme.  

On the RM700,000 in losses incurred by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) after its decorative trees were damaged during the National Day celebration on Wednesday, Annuar said this was caused by the overwhelming number of visitors that thronged Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Raja Laut to witness the parade.

“Maybe, as a guide, for future programmes involving the public, we should all be more responsible. Government property is also ours,” he said. 


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