Weekly Highlights

We need to save Malaysia’s digital future!

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin must not dilly-dally with a meaningless 2 weeks review period, but choose immediately between clinging on to Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong’s failed cabotage policy or saving the digital future of Malaysia.

This follows the dilatory tactics of the cabinet yesterday instructing six ministries to investigate the effect of the country’s cabotage policy on the digital and shipping industries and present their recommendations within 14 days.

This cabotage exemption allowing foreign ships to carry out submarine cable repairs was granted in March 2019 by the PH Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook.

Wee revoked the cabotage exemption on 13 November 2020. Is the PN government now so indecisive and incompetent that they need to get 6 Ministries involved in a straightforward matter? Under PH, this was decided efficaciously by the Transport Ministry without any fuss in line with international best practices.

Technology companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have since written to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin twice, making an urgent request to reinstate the exemption.

The four technology giants stated that the revoking the cabotage exemption had diminished Malaysia’s appeal as an investment destination for technology, impeded Malaysian people and businesses that rely on the internet as well as violated the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital).

Clearly, Wee’s revocation further impedes the achievement of MyDigital objectives, such as attracting more international submarine cables and data centre investments to the country, boost economic competitiveness through digitalisation, and develop internationally competitive digital talent.

Unfortunately, Wee cannot see the loss suffered by Malaysia but only his own loss of face and exposure of his incompetence if the cabotage exemption is reinstated.
A discussion on Pakatan Harapan’s dwindling popularity by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member Datuk Dr Rais Hussin at Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman Rais Hussin had openly blamed Wee’s revocation of the cabotage exemption for causing Malaysia to be sidelined by Facebook and Google in favour of Singapore and Indonesia. Rais said that also under review are potential data centre investments worth RM 12-15 billion in foreign investment.

DAP supports Rais’ call to restore the cabotage exemption to save tens of billions of ringgit of critical investments in the digital technology sector and our country’s future.


Secretary General of DAP

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