MP questions KWAN’s function

Shafie asks why the 5G spectrum is given directly to DNB instead of auctioning it


THE government’s decision to tap into the National Trust Fund (KWAN) fund for the procurement of vaccines, instead of raising income through the auctioning of 5G spectrum was brought up in the Parliament yesterday.

Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture) asked why the 5G spectrum is not auctioned but is given directly to the Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) when by auctioning, the government could collect more money, instead of tapping into the KWAN fund.

“If auctioned, it is estimated that the government can collect almost RM3 billion-RM5 billion, well, there is no need to tap into the KWAN fund,” he said.

He also queried for the government’s contracts that have been issued since 2020 and the value of direct negotiations contracts.

“Countries such as South Korea and Thailand are doing it in a different kind of form to generate income. However, from the 5G services available today, which could generate up to US$3 billion (RM12.72 billion), Malaysia has to spend RM11 billion to build 5G infrastructure,” he said.

“Recently, the government tapped a quarter from KWAN for vaccine procurement without tabling the plan to the Parliament. It is the fund for our future generation,” he told Dewan Rakyat.

Last year, Thailand’s telecommunications regulator raised 100.52 billion baht (RM13.57 billion) in 5G spectrum auctions.

Thailand’s top mobile operator, Advanced Info Service PCL, snapped up 23 licences across all three spectrum bands from the auctions.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president argued that instead of tapping into the fund and put the financial safeguard of the future generations on the line, the government should seek an alternative in increasing its coffer.

Shafie also said despite the government’s clarification on fund utilisation with regards to vaccine procurement and Covid management in general, he said the detail remains sketchy.

“We have heard how the Health Ministry and Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry spend the money for vaccine and pandemic management, but I could not see how the allocation is being used,” he said.

Early this month, DNB told The Malaysian Reserve that the 5G spectrum is allocated to DNB based on apparatus assignment, which comes with a fee as prescribed under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s relevant regulatory framework.

“To reiterate, DNB is a licenced telecommunications technology company mandated by the government of Malaysia to accelerate the deployment of the nation’s 5G network nationwide,” it said.