KUALA LUMPUR: The National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) urges the government to exempt the cabotage policy for submarine cable installation and repairs.

Chairman Danny Lee said there are concerns that the cabotage policy would have dire consequences on tech investments.

“We are already beginning to see some multinational tech companies giving Malaysia a miss and others who are here, are also moving elsewhere,” he said in a statement.

He further explained that submarine cables are the global backbone of the Internet and play a critical role in Malaysia’s economy.

“The cabotage exemption is key to ensuring speedy repair of damaged submarine cables, thereby preserving Internet stability, speed, and affordability,” added Lee.

He said access to the Internet is more critical than ever particularly during Movement Control Order (MCO) as Malaysians rely on affordable, reliable Internet access in order to work, continue their education, connect with friends and family, and access essential goods and services like healthcare.

“Now is an especially bad time to put this access at risk by making it more difficult for Malaysian Internet service providers to repair critical Internet infrastructure,” he said, adding that current cabotage policy would not resonate well with the country’s digital aspirations but rather hamper the progress.

On the data security issue, he said that enhancing cybersecurity readiness throughout the chain including endpoint devices and the network to ensure encrypted end-to-end security would be the right solution.

According to Datareportal, there are 27.43 million Internet uses in Malaysia and this has increased by 2.8% between 2020 and 2021, while Internet penetration stands at 84.2%. — Bernama