Malaysia may be part of NTT’s Intra-Asia Express Cable project

Malaysia may be part of NTT’s Intra-Asia Express Cable project

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may be part of the newly planned network configuration of Japanese firm NTT’s Intra-Asia Express Cable project, which would see Malaysia participate in the construction of subsea cables connecting Japan and the Philippines, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.

The minister said this during a live television debate on the national cabotage policy with DAP leader Lim Guan Eng late on Tuesday night, during which he revealed that he had spoken to NTT Ltd Japan vice-president Yoshio Sato on the matter.

NTT Ltd Japan is the Japanese company involved in the Apricot Cable project and the MIST (Malaysia, India, Singapore, Thailand) project, which is an 8,000km subsea cable system that is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“This company has a project called Intra-Asia Express Cable that will go through Sabah dan Sarawak. Does this not benefit Malaysia? Is this not part of the MyDigital agenda that we dream of?,” he said during the debate.

Wee said he will expedite the matter by arranging meetings with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.”We will make a swift decision so that we can provide it NTT with support. That is why the Ministry of Transport should not be accused of restricting foreign investments,” he added.

Wee also said that Malaysian companies have the technical capabilities to participate in subsea cable repairing activities and that this should not be an issue with regard to foreign companies operating in the same segment.

On Sept 30, there was a heated exchange between them in Parliament after Lim asked Wee whether the reimposition of the cabotage policy for submarine cable repair works had caused tech giants to skip Malaysia in plans to install undersea cables to boost internet connectivity.

Introduced in 1980, the cabotage policy for cable repair works was revoked by the Pakatan government in April 2019, exempting vessels involved in submarine cable repair and maintenance works from having to apply for a domestic shipping licence.The cabotage policy was reintroduced by Wee in November of 2020.– BERNAMA