Digital Nasional Bhd appoints directors from 5 telcos


Digital Nasional Bhd appoints directors from 5 telcos

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Digital Nasional Bhd appoints directors from 5 telcos

As hinted by Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil yesterday, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) has announced new appointments to the board. The appointments were announced following the signing of the Share Subscription Agreement (SSA) by 5 telcos (CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, TM and YTL) to acquire a 70% stake in the 5G single wholesale network late last year.

Below is the list of new directors from each respective telcos:

  • CelcomDigi – Datuk Kamal Khalid
  • Maxis – Uthaya Kumar A/L K Vivekananda
  • U Mobile – Chang Yit Fei (Alternative: Tan Kok Leong)
  • Telekom Malaysia – Nik Azli Abu Zahar (Alternative: Mohamed Tajul Mohamed Sultan)
  • YTL – Dato Seri Yeoh Seok Hong (Alternative: Dato Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek)

The five new members will join other incumbent board members at DNB – Secretary General of Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican and Deputy Secretary General of Digital Ministry, Ma Sivanesan Marimuthu. The appointment is effective 24th April 2024.

According to DNB, they look forward to obtaining valuable input and direction from the newly constituted Board in driving the advancement of Malaysia’s digital infrastructure and the adoption of 5G technology across industries, enterprises, public sector and consumers.

Malaysia to shift towards dual network model

As mentioned by Fahmi yesterday, the dual network policy will continue and a follow-up announcement will be made by next week. Announced in May last year, Malaysia aims to allow a second competing 5G network once DNB has achieved 80% 5G population coverage by the end of 2023. At the moment, the SSA which will enable telcos to participate in DNB by acquiring a 70% stake is still ongoing.

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CNA recently reported that Malaysia’s 5G rollout has hit a snag due to transparency concerns. The report alleged that DNB insisted only the board’s directors would be allowed access to review the ongoing due diligence to its affairs and the findings must remain confidential and not be shared with the telcos.

DNB has since refuted the report insisting that it has been transparent with the award of tenders and contracts for the 5G network deployment including Ericsson. DNB said the SSA process is still ongoing and it strongly denies claims made otherwise.

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim recently said that DNB’s issues will be resolved sometime this week. The equity deal with DNB requires due diligence and approvals from the relevant authorities. From the looks of it, the appointment of the new board members will grant telcos greater visibility into DNB’s operations to complete their required due diligence.

The question remains: When will the SSA deal be completed? Also, what’s the timeline for Malaysia to allow a second 5G network to be established?

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