Musk’s Starlink plans to provide internet service via satellite in Malaysia

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali with the representative of SpaceX and Starlink at the SpaceX headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Azmin Ali’s Facebook page.

LOS ANGELES: Starlink, a high-speed, low-latency broadband internet provider operated by Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX, plans to expand its footprint in Malaysia to enable the country to increase its internet penetration rate, especially the rural area.

Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said however, several matters were still being considered by the government on Starlink’s (policy-related) proposals to introduce internet service using satellites.

“So far, the government has scrutinised some of the proposals submitted by Starlink.

“Starlink representatives will be in Malaysia next week to scrutinise these proposals, and we hope this can be finalised in the near future as they are ready to come to Malaysia, bringing these new technologies that would benefit the country’s economy,” he said.

Azmin was speaking to Bernama and TV3 journalists after meeting with representatives of SpaceX and Starlink at the SpaceX headquarters here, on Wednesday (Thursday in Malaysia).

He said currently, there was already a Johor-based Malaysian company, which was a major manufacturer for essential components for the satellites built by Starlink.

“Their (SpaceX and Starlink) intention is to see this supply chain can be expanded among local companies, because with this new investment, they definitely need the support of a wider supply chain.

“And this will provide an opportunity for Malaysian companies to get involved in space technology in the near future,” he said.

Starlink’s presence is important for Malaysia in facilitating its digital transformation agenda, he said.

Azmin added he believed with Starlink’s presence in Malaysia, it will be able to further strengthen Malaysia’s economic position in Southeast Asia and globally.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman disclosed that the negotiation process with SpaceX and Starlink was currently at the middle stages.

“The companies see the potential in Malaysia, and the government is currently facilitating the process to realise their proposed project in the country,” he told Bernama.

Besides meeting with SpaceX dan Starlink, Azmin also had a meeting with Cue Health Inc., a healthcare technology company that develops portable diagnostic tests for at-home use.

Azmin said the company had introduced a medical device specifically to perform a range of tests, including that of COVID-19 using pioneering technology.

“They have identified several suitable sites for this investment, and they will be in Malaysia in June to finalise a suitable place for the investment in Malaysia,” he said. − BERNAMA

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