MCMC to assist SMA to keep digital economy agenda on track

Annuar (centre) talking to a Tanjung Manis resident during his visit yesterday.

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KUCHING, Nov 28: Through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the federal government is committed to assisting Sarawak’s agenda on digital economy via the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), assured Minister of Communications and Multimedia Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

The State government has embarked on the umbrella programme through Sarawak Linking Urban Rural (SALURAN), which includes the National Digital Network (Jendela) initiative through MCMC.

“SMA is like a sister agency of MCMC to implement connectivity in Sarawak. What is important is for MCMC to provide strong support to SMA’s plan and strategy.

“SMA has the local knowledge and the backing of the State government,” he told SMA’s Nuju Digital at a Meet-the-People Session at Tanjung Manis here yesterday.

Annuar pointed out that under Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sarawak has a clear agenda to promote and implement digital economy.

Thus, Annuar said MCMC has planned to implement 4G and 5G networks in Sarawak.

“For instance, in the plantation sector, the chief minister has done some pilot projects on how to utilise them so that the sector will not depend too much on foreign labour.

“There is a plan to use robotic technology, which is now at the advanced stage, and this needs 5G,” he said

He also explained why 4G network will still be used even though 5G network will be rolled out soon.

“Before we migrate to 5G, we have to perfect 4G first as it is used by the masses, whereas 5G is for the industries such as artificial intelligence and IoT (Internet of Things). But both of these have to be done simultaneously,” he added.

Annuar said he is confident that the digital economy can be implemented in the country as proper planning is in place.

“All these (initiatives) are in the blueprint, and we have the timeline such as within the next three years we roll out the 5G, which we planned to start in 2023, but we put it forward and started it this year.

“So, if we start next year, we can achieve 30 per cent coverage, and in the next three years, we can achieve 80 per cent in populated areas.

“Previously for 4G, it took us eight years to achieve it. But now for 5G, we plan to implement it for the next three years,” he said.

He is also confident that the country could implement a 5G network with sufficient funding, which he reckoned would cost RM50 billion.

“This will be implemented by both the government and the private sector. Just for 4G alone, we spent RM28 billion, which has been committed by the government and the service providers,” he added.

Annuar also said that 3G network would be stopped next month as the focus will be on rolling out 4G network for the whole of Sarawak.

However, he said 2G network will be retained for the rural areas as it is only for making calls.

Meanwhile, Annuar also assured that MCMC would assist SMA to get the telecommunication companies (telcos) to put up their equipment once the telecommunication towers are ready.

“We understand that SMA has some problems with the telcos. This is the case where the towers have been erected but the telcos are rather slow to come in. So, I have instructed MCMC that once the towers are completed, the telcos must bring in the equipment.

“I have been told that there are some instances whereby some towers have been completed for two years, but there is still no equipment. In this case, MCMC will assist SMA,” he said. — DayakDaily