Fahmi denies claim on second 5G network contract award

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has denied a claim made by former deputy international trade and industry minister Prof Dr Ong Kiang Ming, who claimed the government awarded the second 5G network contract to one of the biggest Chinese companies through direct negotiations.

Communications and digital minister, Fahmi Fadzil said to date, there have been no bids opened for the project.

"It is a commercial aspect.. It depends on when we establish the second 5G entity. The board of directors will make the commercial decision," he said.

He mentioned that the winner will be whoever can offer the cheapest price.

"Perhaps Ong Kian Ming is way too forward. We are still in the year 2023, and he is already in 2024," he said at a press conference after officiating the World Post Day celebration at Pos Malaysia today.

Earlier today, Ong made a statement saying any award of a second 5G network must be done via open tender and needs to take into account public interest, including any financial impact on the finance ministry.

He said the government should not directly negotiate with any single entity.

Ong stated the case for a second 5G network concession has not been firmly established, especially since Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) seems to have done a good job in rolling out coverage for the current network.

On a separate development, Fahmi said that his ministry is working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the issue of 'masking' on various online sales platforms.

This 'masking' issue pertains to situations where merchants are unable to choose their courier providers.

"I think that we need additional time for a win-win solution to be implemented.

"Another concern raised by various parties is the base price, which is currently in the final stages of discussion. I believe MCMC will make an announcement about this matter soon," he added.

He added that the ministry has not established a fixed mandatory limit but has instead operated based on guidelines.

"Similarly, whether we continue with these guidelines or adopt a more stringent approach depends on the ongoing processes and discussions at this final stage," he said.

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