MYIX, Pikom express concern over unresolved cabotage policy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Internet Exchange (MyIX) together with the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) have expressed their deep concern over the unresolved submarine cable cabotage issue despite the assurance from the government in April 2021.

In a joint statement today, MyIX chairman Chiew Kok Hin said the cabotage policy needs to be addressed immediately as it continues to cause jitters with foreign investors which had invested in internet infrastructure in and leading into Malaysia.

“MyIX has learnt that five ministries are in favour of reinstating cabotage exemption for foreign vessels undertaking submarine cable repairs.

“Multinational companies (MNCs) and foreign investors, some of which are MyIX members, are deeply concerned with the silence on the cabotage issue,” he said.

Chiew said industry sources have stated that new submarine cables that were planned to land in Malaysia have now been put on hold by foreign investors.

“This is unfortunate, as it further hinders data centre investments by both local and global companies.

“It also affects the overall internet experience for Malaysians and local businesses,” he said.

In November 2020, a cabotage exemption for foreign vessels to conduct undersea cable repairs was revoked by the Ministry of Transport.

Meanwhile, Pikom chairman Danny Lee has strongly urged the government to reinstate cabotage exemption for foreign vessels undertaking submarine cable repairs.

He said the current cabotage policy has affected not just the telecommunications and technology industries but all sectors that rely on internet stability and strong infrastructure.

“A lot has been said in response to the cabotage policy, most expressing concerns that if not exempted for submarine cable installation and repairs, it will impact the economy and have dire consequences on technological investments.

“We are already beginning to see some MNCs giving Malaysia a miss,” said Lee. – Bernama