by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BLOOMBERG
THE Malaysian Umno Youth Movement is urging the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct a thorough investigation into Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) in ensuring that the fifth generation (5G) mobile network project is clear and transparent.
Its exco Fairuz Jamaluddin said it follows the increase in the cost of 5G network which was initially RM11 billion and now increased to RM30 billion within 10 years of its development based on the selling price of DNB.
He expressed concern that if it is not curbed, the cost of 5G services operated by telco companies will have to be borne by the people at a high price.
“We feel that the increase in costs is so high and sudden that it requires a detailed and transparent explanation immediately.
“It is to ensure that the objectives of the 5G implementation can be achieved and protect the national interest and the wellbeing of the people.
“Before it is too late and nothing can be done, the Malaysian Umno Youth does not want another big corporate scandal that can damage the country’s reputation in the eyes of the world,” he said in a press conference at Wisma TV Angkasapuri today.
Earlier, Fairuz handed over a memorandum to the Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin for the DNB issue to be brought to Parliament and the Umno Supreme Working Council meeting in the near future.
In the meantime, Umno Youth has also made a report to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya today following the implementation of the national 5G project involving public interests and funds.
“MACC officers who received this memorandum believed that the report by Umno Youth was of public interest.
“Preventive measures need to be done because the cost is too high to burden the people later,” he noted.
He added that an investigation needed to be done immediately as the credibility, integrity and expertise of the DNB, as well as the appointment of Augustus Ralph Marshall as its CEO linked to corruption crimes in India were in question.
“Until today, there is no complete answer from the DNB or the Malaysian government on the issue of the appointment of Marshall.
“Marshall was once investigated and charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation of India in connection with the Aircel Ltd-Maxis Communications Bhd corruption case scandal in 2011,” he said.
Additionally, Fairuz said the selection of Ericsson as the main contractor also gave a bad indication as it was found guilty of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the US in 2019 and had to pay a penalty of RM4.4 billion.
“To avoid any questions about transparency in DNB, this is the best way in which the MACC can ensure that there is no issue of leakage and corruption from the beginning.
“The government must take measures to prevent and be careful in the management of the country’s assets which could potentially lose billions of ringgits,” he added.
On another note, Zahidi said he was not informed of the development of DNB for the implementation of the 5G network in Malaysia even though the plan was under his ministry.
The deputy minister said he only attended one briefing session and was not involved in any other DNB-related meetings.
“I do not know about the minister (Annuar Musa). If he was involved, I was not informed,” he said during the press conference.
Zahidi added that he heard that DNB would be regulated by his ministry and the MCMC, but he was not officially informed of this yet.