Kuala Lumpur, 4 June: I'm not as big a fan of Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary as I used to be. The years have made me wiser, I suppose, or just that little harder to impress. But it would seem that across the Causeway, the Straits Times is even less enamoured by this richest Malaysian Melayu.
In its latest swipe at Syed Mokhtar, Malaysia hands 5G spectrum to little-known firm controlled by politically-linked tycoon, the Singapore government's mouthpiece reports:
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has quietly awarded the highly sought-after 5G telecommunications spectrum to several players, including the little-known Altel, a firm controlled by the reclusive but politically connected tycoon Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, seemingly without an open tender previously promised.
The May 15 decision, signed off by Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, went unannounced to the public and appears to be the first major reversal of infrastructure policy by the three-month-old Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
Prior to being ousted in February, the Pakatan Harapan administration had promised an open tender to allocate the spectrum - reserved frequencies to avoid interference of transmission - but encouraged industry players to form a consortium that would avoid duplication of heavy expenses in rolling out infrastructure for the next generation broadband service.