PUTRAJAYA, March 7 — The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is committed to implementing initiatives under the National Digital Network (Jendela) this year, in efforts to strengthen the level of connectivity and quality of communication services, especially in driving the post-COVID-19 digital economy.
Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the targets set this year were to provide fixed-line connectivity for 7.5 million premises, expand 4G coverage to 96.9 per cent of populated areas, increase the average speed of mobile broadband to 35 megabits per second (Mbps) and shift all 3G spectrum to 4G.
“We are hoping to shut down 3G at the end of the year so everyone on 4G will be better prepared for 5G that is faster and stable,” he told a press conference here on the One-Year Malaysia Prihatin achievements of the ministry under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
According to Saifuddin, there is no actual need for 5G among the general public because KKMM’s projection shows that 70 per cent of its use is for industries while 30 per cent is for public use.
However, realising 5G’s importance for faster communication services, the government had accelerated its implementation by a year, he said.
The 5G implementation has been accelerated, as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Feb 19, because the service will drive the development of Malaysia’s digital economy towards MyDigital aspirations by 2030.
The RM21 billion Jendela plan launched in August last year aims to provide wider coverage and a better broadband quality experience for the people as a step in the country’s readiness to switch to 5G technology.
The Jendela action plan, which is part of the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), will be implemented in two phases.
Phase one, which runs from 2020 to 2022, aims to expand 4G mobile broadband coverage from 91.8 per cent to 96.9 per cent in populated areas, increase mobile broadband speed from 25Mbps to 35Mbps, and enable 7.5 million premises to have access to gigabit-speed fixed line broadband.
The second phase will see the transition to 5G after a strong platform in the first phase is achieved in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan.
KKMM’s focus is seen to be in line with Muhyiddin’s keynote address in conjunction with his one-year anniversary leading the Malaysian government, which touched on empowerment of digital economy as part of efforts to support economic growth and job creation, targeting the digital economy to contribute 22.6 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.
For its implementation to be efficient and transparent, Saifuddin said, the Digital Economic Council and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) established in November last year had been tasked to implement and monitor the digital economy strategies and initiatives as well as 4IR in the country in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision (WKB) 2030 and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (SDG 2030).
Six clusters have been identified to drive the digital economy and 4IR agenda where the digital infrastructure and data clusters chaired by Saifuddin will examine initiatives related to digital infrastructure and data as well as the National Digital Identity framework.
On the previous government’s plans that were still going on, Saifuddin said KKMM had the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan when he took over the ministry last year and only minor changes were made for improvement.
“The 2019-2023 strategic plan is being continued. However, we reviewed it in the middle of last year solely because of COVID-19 and not because there was a new administration.
“At the end of this year, KKMM will have a retreat and there will be updates as a lot has changed due to COVID-19. There will be adjustments but only minor ones when the 12th Malaysia Plan is announced soon,” he said.
He said although there was a possibility that several matters would be implemented or reinforced, overall, in terms of policy there will be no changes.