5G technology will take time to be adopted in Malaysia


MALAYSIANS may take between five and seven years to fully adopt the 5G technology, says Pertama Digital Bhd director of strategy Saifullah Akhtar.

However, he said it may take a shorter time than the aforementioned period as Malaysia already has the infrastructure for the 5G technology.

Saifullah also advised telecommunication companies (telcos) to collect data based on user experiences of first-time 5G adopters before they start to improve on it.

“Although we already have the 5G infrastructure, it needs to be extended to every household in more than one device,” Saifullah said during a press conference after the Pertama Digital AGM yesterday.

Although the company has lost out Bank Negara Malaysia’s digital banking licence to its five other bidders, it now has the opportunity to observe the market in the next 18 months and is hopeful that it will provide some excellent banking services.

“What we are doing is we are now exploring opportunities with some of these incumbent banks to launch what is called a NeoBank.

“It is a fintech company working very closely with an incumbent bank under NeoBank that provides digital banking services to a very specific demographic of users,” Saifullah explained.

Meanwhile, Pertama Digital’s independent non-executive chairman Tun Zaki Azmi said he has worked with many associates and partners to craft a compelling proposal for a digital banking licence application.

“We’re working with a number or at least more than one existing conventional licence bank to roll out this service. We will announce the details as soon as they are finalised,” he said.

But now we’re working with a conventional bank for us to provide the digital aspect of banking,” he explained.

Zaki who is also the former Chief of Justice Malaya explained that mobile and digital technology have evolved at an overwhelming pace and that the integration of IT solutions by government agencies and enterprises across the nation has gained significant momentum.

“This has also been reflected in the progress and achievement of Pertama Digital’s products, such as eJamin which reported that a total of RM121.5 million in bail collections were collected in the calendar year 2021, and MyPay’s Coin Conversion which has collected nine million pieces of idle coins worth almost RM1.7 million since its launch in April 2021, and MySMS which supported nationwide contact tracing and subsequently Covid-19 vaccination programme via its integrated messaging service to every resident of Malaysia,” he added.

During the AGM, board members from Be Top Group Ltd and its China-based wholly-owned subsidiary, Top Textile (Suzhou) Co Ltd, decided to discontinue their business with Digital Pertama.

They have also agreed to sell off a portion of its assets to the group’s ED and substantial shareholder Sabri Ab Rahman with an 11.74% stake.

“As Pertama Digital moves to stand on its own two feet without the previous owners and discontinued business operations, we are in the process of onboarding new prominent faces that are able to provide relevant expertise in our mobile and digital aspirations,” Zaki added.

Pertama Digital’s continuing operations (mobile and digital solutions) have recorded an RM9.38 million revenue and a loss after tax of RM2.88 million on the back of operating costs, one-off corporate exercise expenditure, expenses relating to digital banking licence application and allowance for impairment loss on goodwill.

However, the group remains optimistic on the mobile and digital solutions businesses outlook and the prospects of its new business operations and planned expansion are expected to augur well with positive earnings accretive potential.