The special exemption of SpaceX operating in Malaysia is inconsistent with technological neutrality

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) emphasizes the importance of the government supporting and maintaining technological neutrality as the best mechanism to allow companies to operate and invest in Malaysia.

Representative of the Malaysian Consumer Choice Center, Tarmizi Anuwar said: “The government should have to provide a level playing field for every investor who wants to invest in this country without giving privileges to any party. The special exception of SpaceX being granted a Network Facility and Service Provider (NFP/NSP) license for a period of 10 years with full foreign equity ownership is inconsistent. In general, CCC agrees with the policy of full ownership of foreign equity, but it needs to be a policy that can be used by all parties.”

In addition, Tarmizi commented on the exemption conditions from the Minister for the 49 percent threshold policy for foreign equity on NFP and NSP licensees, sending a signal to potential investors that the government’s policy can change according to the investors they like. 

“The government needs to adopt the principle of technological neutrality in investment policies for all parties fairly. In order to ensure that the country becomes a major investment destination at the regional level and has a high global competitiveness, the policies implemented need to be clear, open and consistent, and not practice favoritism.”

“If soon, other satellite providers such as Amazon’s Project Kuiper, HughesNet or Viasat are able to provide more competitive prices and better services, will the government impose the same exemption? An inconsistent policy will send a message that the government is trying to protect certain investors,” he said.

Commenting on Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s statement regarding the installation of 10 Starlink kits to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Kuala Pilah, Perak, Tawau and Sarawak to solve their internet problems, Tarmizi thinks the government needs to re-evaluate the priority and main purpose of installing these satellites.

“The main purpose of installing this communication satellite is to bridge the digital divide in rural areas. While all these universities have a fiber network and 5G. This installation is considered irrational because it is installed in educational facilities that already have access to high-speed internet. In addition, the price of Starlink is also much more expensive than fiber.” 

“Hence, the government needs to re-evaluate populated areas that really need and face internet access issues, due to geographical and infrastructure challenges.” he concluded.



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