In a stunning reply, the Communications and Multimedia Minister admitted that Malaysia lost the Apricot undersea cable due to the cabotage policy.
Malaysia Lost Apricot Subsea Cable Project Due To Cabotage!
Malaysia Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has stridently rejected claims that Malaysia was excluded from the Apricot undersea cable project due to the cabotage policy.
On 30 September 2021, he denied that his decision to revoke the exemption of cabotage on undersea cable repairs was the reason Malaysia was excluded from the Apricot undersea cable project.
However, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim revealed that he received a Parliamentary reply from the Communications and Multimedia Minister that basically admits that the loss was due to the cabotage policy.
Here is the Bahasa Malaysia quote from the Communications and Multimedia Minister, followed by my English translation :
Pemilihan negara bagi menyertai rancangan pemasangan kabel Internet Apricot dasar laut (subsea cables) adalah keputusan syarikat Facebook dan Google. Malaysia tidak tersenarai (bypass) sebagai salah satu negara yang terlibat dalam pendaratan stesen kabel dasar laut tersebut memandangkan isu pengecualian Dasar Kabotaj yang masih belum selesai.”
The choice of country to participate in the Apricot undersea Internet cable (subsea cable) installation plan is decided by Facebook and Google. Malaysia was not listed (bypassed) as one of the countries involved in the landing of the submarine cable station due to the unresolved Cabotage Policy exemption issue.”
This reply by the Communications and Multimedia Minister directly contradicts the Transport Minister’s denials, and confirms what most people already know – Malaysia lost the Apricot undersea cable project because this government refused to exempt undersea cable repairs from its cabotage policy.
What Does Loss Of Apricot Undersea Cable Mean For Malaysia?
Backed by Google and Facebook, the Apricot undersea optic cable will connect South East Asia and North Asia and the US, with a whopping bandwidth of 190 terabits per second (Tbps) and very low latency.
Being bypassed means Malaysia has lost investments and high-speed connectivity worth US$300-400 billion (RM1.26 to RM1.68 billion), according to MIDF Research.
And to add salt to the wound, it comes after Malaysia already lost two earlier undersea cable investments by Google and Facebook called Bifrost and Echo.
This continued loss of subsea cable landings runs contrary to Malaysia’s MyDIGITAL Initiative, which aims to achieve the HIGHEST number of subsea cable landings in South East Asia by 2025.
Malaysia currently only has 23 subsea cables, including those under construction. This leaves it behind Indonesia and Singapore, which have 55 and 31 cables respectively. Even the Philippines is catching up with 19 cables so far.
Is the continued refusal to exempt subsea cable repairs from the cabotage policy worth the loss of billions of dollars of investments?
This government seems to think so, but many would strongly disagree with them.
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