Are MCMC/Ministry dumb or just subservient to Telekom Malaysia?

“Are MCMC/Ministry dumb or just subservient to Telekom Malaysia?”

This is the question I posed to the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor in Parliament at close to 11 pm last night when winding up the debate on behalf of his Ministry on the 2009 Budget debate.

I had queried Shaziman on why Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) was awarded the RM11.3 billion HSBB (High Speed Broadband) project, subsidised with RM2.4 billion of taxpayers’ money, when there was an alternative proposal by HSBT (High Speed Broadband Technology Sdn Bhd) offering to build a similar network without any subsidy?

I also challenged the government’s rationale in awarding the HSBB to Telekom when Telekom must bear the greatest responsibility for Malaysia’s failure to become a broadband power, left far behind in the past decade by other countries when Malaysia had started on an equal broadband footing with them.

South Korea has now a broadband penetration rate of 93 per cent and Hong Kong at 30 per cent, as compared to Malaysia’s 13 per cent (Shaziman corrected me and claimed that Malaysia’s broadband penetration rate is now 17%) which includes Malaysia’s most extraordinary “low broadband speed”!

The main reason why Malaysia has lagged behind other countries in broadband development must lie at the doorsteps of Telekom, which had acted as an absolute bully in refusing to open up the last mile copper to allow other industry players to buy the “last mile” at a fair price and thus promote a full liberalisation of the telco industry.

This monopoly has not only allowed Telekom to have a stranglehold on the other industry players, it has been most costly to the country in terms of lost GDP in tens of billion of ringgit in the past decade, business competitiveness as well as more efficient public service delivery.

I asked Shaziman whether he was aware of almost unanimous industry opposition to the award of the HSSB project with RM2.4 billion government subsidy to Telekom in view of its monopoly and role in stunting the broadband growth of the nation in refusing to open up the “last mile copper”.

As a result, the question that is universally asked in the industry is whether the MCMC (Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission) and the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications are dumb or just subservient to Telekom to allow Telekom to continue with its untrammelled monopoly position and baneful influence on broadband growth impeding and undermining a successful national broadband policy?

In the exchanges with Shaziman, I specifically asked why there was no open tender for the HSBB project and why HSBT offer to execute the HSBB project without a single sen of public funds, depending on Middle East funding and expertise from South Korea and Japan, was rejected by the government.

Even in Singapore, SingTel which is like TM as the erstwhile monopoly Telco, was not given the sole right to build the island republic’s HSSB.

Shaziman did not have the answers to my questions, except to give an assurance that as the Minister responsible, he would not allow Telekom Malaysia to be a “bully” in the IT industry.

I concluded my intervention in the debate by recommending four measures for Shaziman to consider to resolve the national misgivings as well as the concerns of the IT industry to the award of the RM11.3 billion HSBB project to Telekom, viz:

· Carry out using a third party to review industry feedback on the award of the HSBB project (RM2.4 billion subsidy) to TM.

· Turn the TM HSBB network into a truly open network from the outset and not to wait for seven years.

· Call a tender for the award of another HSBB network.

· Use a third party to derive the formula for fair access pricing to TM HSBB network.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 7:48 am

    Without bribery and corruptions..they cannot survive.
    That’s the method….shown and taught by Mahathir.
    It’s a disease..that cannot be cured.
    Only way…vote them out…or else…Malaysians be prepared for tougher times..when the going gets tougher.
    We should be living in paradise….but Malaysia is compared .like one..without so many..natural resources…yet those countries …with no natural resources….are better off than Malaysia.
    Bribery and keep their members the only way…they will keep voting for them…..and ..with spare money…to throw out…fishing for more new votes. This has always been the way…they win elections.
    Much much more needed…if ever they get elected again.
    Live with it…if anyone want to support the devil.

  2. #2 by pizi87 on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 8:00 am

    haiya, gomen always protecting the big boys (n bullies)

  3. #3 by monsterball on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 8:14 am

    And this is how Nazri said about corruptions from UMNO….
    “UMNO members only have to answer to the disciplinary committee and are punished according to party dealings.
    They have immunity to laws outside the jurisdiction of the party.
    This is because their actions in the party have nothing to do with public business”
    Soooooo….every UMNO guy… find ways and means to cheat billions…for party….has nothing to do with public business?
    No wonder billions..needed…as 10% “commission”..for themselves…is chicken feed…if not by the billions.
    Master mind….like Mahathir…is par excellent…making sure..his machais…did all the donkey work….go to jail…if found out…but never the master mind. They also get….’commission’ too.
    It’s like football bookies…real financiers..never really be seen.
    I wonder if Republicans or Democrats in USA dare to talk like Nazri..
    For sure…whoever that person belong to which party……..that party will surely fall…because people’s power is real there.
    Here….we have alot of half past sixes.

  4. #4 by swipenter on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 8:24 am

    They are both dumb and subservient not to mention self interest which is the most important part of the exercise. In Bolihland where GLCs are involved the best deal for the country and raykat is not of paramount importance but self interest. So we are seeing underperforming GLCs all over Bolihland providing substandard service and overcharging their customers, given subsidies for being awarded the contracts and guaranteed profits, bailouts for failures,……..what our govt and politicians choose to do with our country’s wealth and resources!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5 by Godfather on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 8:51 am

    “Open Tender” – two words that are not in UMNO’s dictionary. Ranks in the same category as “shame”, “transparency”, “integrity”, “accountability”.

  6. #6 by veddy.lum74 on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 9:03 am

    MCMC=moong moong cha cha!

    the govt. created it so that when there are foul practices in the telecommunication projects,they will push the responsibility to Ministry of Energy and vice-versa!Confusing the public is the best thing they could do!

  7. #7 by izrafeil on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 9:12 am

    Uncle Lim,
    Looking at all the brokers reports, one can conclude that TimeDotCom (TDC) has most extensive fibre optics network. TDC and TM are both majority owned by the Government or Government agencies. Why on earth this cannot be merged together and benefit the rakyat?! Things can be done above board, one alternative is to merge the two and delist one (like what the Govt did on Synergy/Sime) or allow TDC to lease bandwith line to telcos is another alternative. These could be far cheaper than getting the rakyat to subsidise TM.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 9:29 am

    Next thing you know, the RM11.3 billion HSBB (High Speed Broadband) project will be deferred and the RM11.3 billion given to Valuecap because the EPF’s RM5 billion loan is definitely not enough

  9. #9 by khairi ali on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 9:52 am

    Good. giv them the questions that will drill right into their heart and conscience.

    By the way, how will your steps of awarding the project be beneficial to Malaysians? Hav you identify the extent of benefit that can be accrued by all races? Hav you ascertain the side effects of the steps to the interest of the nation? Will Malaysians from all races able to be the mastermind of the telco, or just coolies? Are you assured of not being manipulated by the outsiders, compared to the insiders, ie malaysian base biz entity?

    In fact I hav a lot more questions. But it is enough to raise those first, and I hope uncle lim could answer it promptly.

  10. #10 by izrafeil on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 10:10 am

    If I am not mistaken Time Dot Com was part of a massive bail out, so in that sense, we the taxpayers have actually forked that amount before…. so TDC, pls do the national services by nationalising your network.

  11. #11 by Thinking Two on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 10:34 am

    EPF accquired TimeDotCom share at IPO price but the current market price is RM0.24.

    There are more Managers and Execuitives than low ranking staffs.

    All of them getting higher salary but giving low performance. How to make profit!!!!! This company is created for feeding lazy guys only!!!!

  12. #12 by helpless on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 10:43 am

    The UMNO politician is just use the people money to achieve personal benefit and related business.

    Malaysia and especially the Malay is suffered for giving the Minister power to abuse people hard earned money.

    It is high time for the government to practice corporate governance. The basic elements of transparency, independent judgment, safeguard the people money is a must.

    People’s money has been abuse for personal interest instead of improve the social economic which could bring positive chain effects.

  13. #13 by helpless on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 10:47 am

    Just wonder what is those toothless cat of other BN’s parties like MCA and from east Malaysia.

    The useless MCA good for nothing.

  14. #14 by disapointed86 on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 11:25 am

    hohoo..nice one..uncle LIM is smart :P..but just wondering if he will bear in mind on the measures…

  15. #15 by riversandlakes on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 11:35 am

    What era are we in already? Every country is changing that big colossal dominant Telecom/Telekom landscape.

    More cronism or corruption at work? Can PR bring matters like these to light? These questioning sessions on light-weights (like that who who minister) won’t reveal anything…

  16. #16 by son of perpaduan on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 12:15 pm

    Rakyat wealth,freedom and welfare has been steal away by Barisan Nasional in the past 51 years. How many more years you..rakyat malaysia keep mum over this? Please, as a got to do something at least for your next generation. ACT now before is too late. BN and umno is trying to vacumn all money from EPF and their control goverment treasury before they dump the goverment to Pakatan Rakyat without any single cents to run the country. PR will inherit a empty funds country.

  17. #17 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 1:09 pm

    Umno/Bn goverment always bails out any GLC when they are in finacial problem but how come they missed out on the sabah saham ? Is it because no umnoputras are involved ? Sabah Umno/Bn why just talk and no walk .Your big brothers in KL are all being helped and yet you guys in Sabah just talk,talk and talk and cheat the rakyat of Sabah.As a Sabahan,I really feel ashame of you esp.all you YBs (except Dap’s ).

  18. #18 by shortie kiasu on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 2:12 pm

    So where is the transparency in the BN government administration? Or is it that cash and contract has to dole out to a bumiputra GLC on a sliver platter at the misery of the tax payers and the rakyat?

  19. #19 by rubini on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 - 9:31 pm


  20. #20 by cazz on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 2:22 am

    Broadband? What broadband?
    We have N-band, S-band in Malaysia, we dont have broadband?
    Do we?


  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 4:01 am

    Then we also have rubber band. Let’s not forget.

  22. #22 by chengho on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 6:49 am

    what do you expect TM will do? at the helm is the chairman without a vision and out of touch t s radzi which is the brother in law of AAB
    no board member dare to challenge him eventhough ts quite a sleepy guy also. TM’s do not need to spend 11.3 billion to deploy the broadband ,they already have a vast infrastructure network underneath when they’re implementing outside plant copper cable way back in the ’80 .
    this infrastructure was plan for 50 yrs requirement or maybe they lost the record already . ask Leo Moggi, he should be able to brief Shaziman .
    the local industry is well prepared ( way back in the ’80 the local implementing 3 million customers within 3 yrs ) you do not need a foreign contractors, foreign consultants, foreign etc. today every body have the habit of everything foreign expertise .

    the price those day was rm 1500 per customer now we heard TM’s price stand at rm 8000 per customer? do the mathematic again when all the infrastucture is already there . nation will loose again on the wasted resources not to mention if they merge with Time Telekom vast unutilise fibre optics network .

    you have to look at other licence operators also Maxis , Digi ,etc what they are doing, not supporting local industry everything was and is done foreign suppliers, foreign contractors,foreign consultants,foreign etc ..that why local industry not exciting no expertise like Korea ,China,Taiwan ,Japan,etc.

    No body talk about contents? ,just like building a 4 lanes highway but no traffic no vehicles no strategy .

  23. #23 by ringthetill on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 8:24 am

    chengho’s comments are spot on. Although the idea and concept of privitisation were modelled on UK’s British Telecom. The aim was to encourage competition that will bring benefits to the end users – quality service at acceptable price.
    But as expected, during the process, the original objectives were hijacked. By giving large amount of public money to a privatised company, the Govt is in effect adding more problem to an already ‘unlevel’ playing field.

  24. #24 by hennesy on Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 12:44 pm

    Voting BN OUT! is the only one way to deal with them. They can’t & will not abolish their corrupt style of national project implementation. This is all part & parcel of Mahathirism & a curse from the 80s.

    Tell me, if you have been earning a very good income regardless if it’s illegal, and that no one is able to punish or interfere, would anyone voluntarily abolish the practice?

    Heck, there is this joke about Dr. M wanting to send an astronaut to space so he discussed the matter with a Malay, Chinese & Indian.

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