DNB-telcos issue to be discussed

Nice to meet you: Anwar greeting attendees at PKR’s 25th anniversary convention at the IDCC in Shah Alam, Selangor. — KK SHAM/The Star

SHAH ALAM: The issue about transparency involving Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) will be discussed next week, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister said this when asked about the ongoing settlement agreement between DNB and Malaysia’s five private mobile telecommunication companies.

“They will discuss. Next week, they should resolve it. It (the DNB issue) will be decided next week,” he told reporters briefly after attending PKR’s 25th anniversary convention at the Ideal Convention Centre (IDCC) here yesterday.It was reported that DNB and the five telcos had been unable to reach a compromise after more than four months of negotiations related to the fifth-generation cellular network, or 5G.

On Saturday, DNB denied allegations of not being transparent in its internal operations and rejected the insinuation of any impropriety in governance and procurement practices.

In a statement, DNB said its tender and procurement processes are structured according to the strictest governance standards and best practices.

DNB was responding to a Channel News Asia (CNA) article titled “Malaysia’s billion-dollar 5G roll-out stumbles as deal breaks down between powerful telcos, state-owned operator”, published on April 19, and subsequently reported by other media outlets.

DNB also said the process related to share subscription agreements (SSA) signed with the five telcos is ongoing.

“We strongly deny the claims made otherwise but are unable to comment in specific terms due to confidentiality restrictions,” it said.

DNB is a special-purpose vehicle company established in 2021 under the Finance Ministry. It is now the sole owner of the 5G spectrum network, soon to be operating alongside the second network, which is yet to be finalised.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil briefly said there were several inaccurate news reports regarding the implementation status of the 5G network and several ongoing discussions.

According to Fahmi, telco companies had on April 15 submitted proposed names to be appointed as directors to represent the companies on DNB’s board.

“I had discussions with Treasury secretary-general Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican and I was informed that those names are in the final stages of screening,” said Fahmi at a Hari Raya Aidilfitri event in Lembah Pantai yesterday.

“We hope that before the end of this month, or in early May, we can make a big announcement regarding the direction of the 5G network in Malaysia.”

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