Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google Cloud and Telekom Malaysia have been granted conditional approval to build and manage hyperscale data centres and cloud services in Malaysia, anchored around government plans to drive mass digital adoption.
Revealed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin during the launch ceremony of MyDIGITAL and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, the cloud service providers (CSP) are expected to invest between RM12-15 billion during the next five years, equating to approximately US$3-3.7 billion.
Central to such efforts will be a select channel ecosystem of managed service providers (MSPs) comprising of Enfrasys Solutions, Prestariang Systems and Cloud Connect. Each will work closely with the CSPs to manage services delivered to agencies in the public sector, in line with government ambitions to strengthen the capabilities of local providers.
“These hyperscale data centres as well as hybrid cloud services will be created to increase data storage space, thus reducing operating costs and improving analytical efficiency,” said the Prime Minister during his opening address.
To further support plans to “empower cloud computing services in the public sector” the government has also targeted the migration of 80 per cent of public data to a hybrid cloud environment by the end of 2022, spearheaded by a Cloud First strategy.
“For a more effective and smooth data collection and management, this strategy also helps to reduce government costs in information technology management in the long run,” the Prime Minister added. “All these cloud services will allow big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and other applications to be utilised to enhance and strengthen government services.”
According to the Prime Minister, the construction of this infrastructure will form the “backbone for a sustainable digital ecosystem”, serving as the key engine of growth towards a sustainable economy.
The government will continue to help strengthen this new ecosystem through creating a regulated environment that can support digital use while protecting the privacy of citizens, alongside administering public data resources in order to be jointly benefited by public and private organisations. This is in addition to facilitating the evolution of the labour market in potentially disruptive industries through automation and digital solutions.
“We will ensure that digital companies involved with the government will work hard to help Malaysians improve on their digital skills,” he outlined. “These companies, among others, will also collaborate with local universities to establish the Faculty of Artificial Intelligence, and to work with the government to carry out employees’ skills improvement programs.
“Cyber and data security are definitely among the government’s main focus in realising the vision for a nation of digital technology. Public data will be handled sparingly based on security standards set by the government through the implementing agency, the National Cyber Security Agency [NACSA].”
5G ambitions realised
In addition to cloud, Malaysia is also pressing ahead with plans to increase investment in 5G via increased collaboration with the private sector, backed by RM21 billion in funding during the next five years through the National Digital Network (JENDELA) project to strengthen the existing connectivity.
This fixed line optical fibre network will cover almost 100 per cent of populated areas in stages - from 7.5 million premises by the end of 2022 to nine million premises by the end of 2025.
Furthermore, a total of RM1.65 billion will be invested by “several telecommunication companies” to strengthen connectivity to the international submarine cable network until the year 2023. According to the Prime Minister, the move is designed to open up space for faster and more stable international data transfer, in turn lowering internet costs to consumers in Malaysia.
Delving deeper, RM15 billion will also be invested over a period of ten years for the implementation of 5G nationwide, creating approximately 105,000 job opportunities in the process. Delivered by a “special purpose vehicle” under the Malaysian Government, this entity will then be given the appropriate spectrum to “own, implement and manage” the 5G infrastructure.
“Insya-Allah, all licenced telecommunication companies will have equal access to this infrastructure, in marketing their 5G services to their customers,” the Prime Minister added. “This infrastructure cost-sharing enables telecommunication companies to generate higher returns and, in turn, provide better and cheaper 5G services to consumers. This will boost the usage of 5G, thus enhance economic capability in triggering more product and service innovations.
“So, by the end of this year, the rakyat will be able to enjoy the 5G technology in stages. With this, Malaysia will emerge as one of the first countries in this region to build a 5G ecosystem using internet and cloud services in real-time to enable instant sharing of information.”