Thursday, December 09, 2021

5G: How the Govt can avoid making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes

Ask us (the long-suffering consumers) what we want

Bangsar, Dec 9: It’s always good to review a decision, especially one involving something as colossal as the country’s 5G rollout, to make absolutely sure that we are doing the right thing. The investment involved is huge and the impact of 5G on all of us will be phenomenal. We can’t afford stupid mistakes. 

In this context, Communications & Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa’s latest remarks in Parliament (There is merit in reconsidering model for 5G rollout: Annuar) should be taken positively. 

My only concern is that he is making the statement at a time when everything seems to be in place and we Malaysians have gotten all excited to rock and roll with the rest of the world with 5G (Telekom Malaysia, for example, has just signed up for the national 5G trials!). 

I’m especially concerned that Annuar said the review decision came “after receiving feedback from telcos and industry players”. The first thing that came to my mind is this: If it took them so long to provide their feedback to the government, imagine how long it will take them to bring this 5G thingy to our homes, schools, factories, and lives? 

On the same note, I’d like to say this to YB Annuar. If a review is what we want, then don’t listen to just the telcos and industry players (who are they, by the way?). Don’t just listen to the people at the Digital National Berhad, even though the Government was the one that mandated them to implement all 5G projects with the telcos and industry players. And if you are not listening to your experts and professional regulators who make up the MCMC, then don’t listen to your civil servants who surely don’t know any better. 

And don’t just listen to the Opposition.

Listen more, instead, to the long-suffering telco consumers. Heck, listen ONLY to them if you want to listen at all. Get our feedback. Find out what we want and why we have been so unhappy all these years with our connection, reception, and whatever internet shit we’ve been paying for.

If Annuar and his colleagues in the Cabinet really have to do this, do it right. Protect the consumers and not the tycoons and cronies. Guarantee that when we get 5G, we don’t get conned again by some corporations that are concerned only with profit margins and bonuses for themselves and fat dividends for their shareholders. Only by listening to the people and prioritising their interest will the Government avoid making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes.


P.S. And here’s the thing: At the same time Annuar is talking about the review, Singapore is said to be keen in doing their own review of its 5G rollout approach. I was told that they actually think that our single whole network approach should be the way to go. Don’t take my word for it, ask them.

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