KL, Mar 06: IT’S still early in the game but young Minister Fahmi Fadzil seems to be making all the right moves. The appointment of billionaire Mohamad Salim Fateh Din as chairman of the MCMC, for instance, should make some people wet their pants. It won’t be business as usual for MCMC as the seasoned corporate man is expected to bring in external auditors, new brooms and fire extinguishers for greater transparency and better governance. The best thing is Salim would know exactly what to do: he was there as interim chairman before offering Fahmi his resignation in Dec last year. The MCMC sits on a huge pile of money contributed by telco companies and we need to know all that money have gone and will go to the right places and not the pockets of the corrupt and unscrupulous. It also needs a clearer direction and leadership. Right now, most people see MCMC as a little more than just cybercops.
Fahmi, who turned 40 in Feb, had earlier announced the appointment of Al-Ishsal Ishak, a former chairman of MCMC (also short-lived), as Communications and Digital Advisor to the Minister. Ishsal was instrumental in launching the 5G services in this country, starting with a standalone pilot project in Langkawi way back in Dec 2019. He was replaced in June 2020 following the so-called Sheraton Move. His stints with Pos Malaysia (prior to MCMC) and a leading news portal in the country (post-MCMC) make Ishsal a formidable force in Fahmi’s team.
Under Fahmi’s watch, a decision on 5G will be made one way or another. (in other words, one DNB or two DNBs) and Salim and Ishsal will have a big say on that. From the little I know of both men, I believe neither is pre-occupied with the debate on whether a single wholesale network is better than a multiple wholesale network. Their question, I’m guessing, would be: should government be directly involved in business at all, in the first place?
Fahmi has made two more major appointments: Kamil Othman as Finas chairman and Suhaimi Sulaiman as director-general of RTM. While the first-time minister looks to Suhaimi to modernise RTM and make the government broadcasting company less a propaganda tool and more BBC or CNN, he may expect the seasoned Kamil to help him cleanse the National Film Development Corp. The Auditor-General’s report for 2021 found that RM4 million had been awarded to production houses with links to FInas directors, a revelation that, quite frankly, hardly raised eyebrows because … why, it’s Finas!