We can’t even get basic Internet access right, why go 5G, asks MP

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 03 Jul 2019

5G devices to shine at the Mobile World Congress 2019. — AFP Relaxnews

KUALA LUMPUR: A Sarawak DAP lawmaker has taken the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to task on its plan to introduce fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology when it cannot even guarantee stable Internet connections in rural areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

Wong Ling Biu (PH-Sarikei) said Internet coverage in rural areas was still low, while some parts do not even have any connectivity at all.

“Let’s not talk about 5G connectivity – even fourth generation (4G) and normal connectivity is hard to get.

“What is the Ministry's plan or measures that will be taken to address this in Sarawak,” he asked during Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday (July 3).

In response, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh said 5G was important to prepare the country to compete at the international level and to face the challenges of the digital economy in the future.

“I think we have to look forward. Although we accept that the current coverage needs to be improved, not only in Sarawak but nationwide, that does not mean we cannot do new initiatives like 5G.

“We have to be prepared. Whether we like it or not, 5G is something that would take over the world and its economy in the years to come.

“In such a situation, we have to do it simultaneously. I hope you understand that it will take a concerted effort and focus on what we have, and improve it to ensure the nation is prepared for digital economy challenges,” said Gobind.

He also said that a 5G Special Task Force will prepare a report on all aspects of 5G technology and public policy.

“We’re looking at it (the health issue), and it is being discussed and we are looking at the outcome of this pilot project, and we are definitely giving focus to the safety issue,” he said in reply to a question from Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, on concerns about radio frequency radiation with the adoption of 5G.

On Tuesday (July 2), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) issued an open call for companies to propose 5G demonstration projects using its 5G testbed.

5G Test Bed Working Group chairman Dr Ahmad Nasruddin ‘Atiqullah Fakrullah said it seeks to enable interested parties to collaborate, develop, test and deploy proposed 5G use cases in harnessing the growth of the nation's 5G ecosystem.

The call for collaboration goes out to valid Network Facility Provider (NFP) and Network Service Provider (NSP) licence holders to submit their proposals by mid-July.

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