Malaysia to choose 5G partners based on own security standards

Malaysia plans to issue spectrum tenders in April and estimates that 5G infrastructure development would cost some 21.6 billion ringgits over five years. (AFP)
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Updated 17 February 2020

Malaysia to choose 5G partners based on own security standards

  • Malaysia is aware of the ‘concerns that have been expressed around the world’ about Huawei
  • Malaysia estimates that 5G infrastructure development would cost some 21.6 billion ringgits ($5.22 billion) over five years

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s own security standards will dictate which companies take part in its planned 5G rollout this year, its communications minister said on Monday, as the United States pushes countries to exclude China’s Huawei.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has been at the center of a US-led campaign to clamp down on the use of Chinese technology in the development of the next-generation telecommunications platform because of concerns the equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.
The United States placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in May, and in February US prosecutors accused it of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran to track protesters. The company denies the charges.
Malaysia is aware of the “concerns that have been expressed around the world” about Huawei, but it will be governed by its own security standards in choosing partners for the nationwide 5G rollout planned for the third quarter, minister Gobind Singh Deo said.
“My position is very clear, we have our own safety standards, we have own safety requirements,” he said in an interview.
“So, whoever deals with us, whoever comes up with proposals, we have to be certain and we have to be sure they meet the security standards that we have.”
Asked if Huawei had made a promise similar to the one made to India on preventing “back doors” in its equipment, which the US had said could be used by Beijing to carry out covert surveillance on other countries, Singh Deo said:
“I don’t think we look at one particular company and say this is how it should be,” he said.
“When you talk about security, be it Huawei or anyone else, you want to be assured that whatever system they propose... is suitable for you. We do not say we will not deal with one particular company because generally there are security concerns.”
Malaysia plans to issue spectrum tenders in April and estimates that 5G infrastructure development would cost some 21.6 billion ringgits ($5.22 billion) over five years.
Huawei has already signed a 5G deal with Malaysian mobile network operator Maxis and preliminary agreements with other telcos such as Axiata Group’s Celcom and Telekom Malaysia.
Besides Huawei, other suitors seeking a piece of Malaysia’s 5G business include Finnish company Nokia, which is positioning to provide services for the trade-reliant nation’s ports industry, and Sweden’s Ericsson.
Singh Deo said the government was keen to involve as many companies as possible to encourage healthy competition in the name of better services.


British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

Updated 04 June 2020

British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

  • Job losses necessary as cash reserves of IAG, British Airways’ parent company, would not last forever

LONDON: The boss of British Airways said its parent company IAG was burning through $223 million a week and could not guarantee its survival, prompting him to urge unions to engage over 12,000 job cuts.
British Airways came under heavy attack from lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, who accused it of taking advantage of a government scheme to protect jobs while at the same time announcing plans to cut its workforce by 28 percent.
Planes were grounded in March due to coronavirus restrictions, forcing many airlines to cut thousands of staff as they struggle without revenues. Airlines serving Britain now face an additional threat from a 14-day quarantine rule.
In an internal letter to staff seen by Reuters, Alex Cruz, the chief executive of British Airways said the job losses were necessary as IAG’s cash reserves would not last forever and the future was one of more competition for fewer customers.
BA also wants to change terms and conditions for its remaining workers to give it more flexibility by, for example, making all crew fly both short and long-haul.
Cruz said IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, was getting through $223 million a week, meaning that it could not just sit out the crisis. The group had €10 billion of liquidity at the end of April.
“BA does not have an absolute right to exist. There are major competitors poised and ready to take our business,” Cruz said in the letter.
He urged two unions which represent cabin crew and other staff, GMB and Unite, to join in discussions to mitigate proposed redundancies. Pilots union BALPA is “working constructively” with the airline, he added.
Cruz also joined other airline bosses in criticizing Britain’s quarantine rule, due to come into effect on June 8, calling it “another blow to our industry.”