Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Satellite internet service by Elon Musk’s Starlink a work in progress, says Azmin

He says Starlink representatives will be in Malaysia next to discuss their proposals.

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High-speed, low-latency broadband internet provider Starlink, operated by Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX, plans to expand its footprint in Malaysia to enable the country to increase its internet penetration rate, especially in rural areas.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali however said that the government was still considering several policy-related matters on Starlink’s proposals to introduce internet service using satellites.

“So far, the government has scrutinised some of the proposals submitted by Starlink.

“Starlink representatives will be in Malaysia next week to scrutinise these proposals, and we hope this can be finalised in the near future as they are ready to come to Malaysia, bringing these new technologies that would benefit the country’s economy,” he told reporters after meeting with SpaceX and Starlink representatives at the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles on Thursday.

He said there was already a Johor-based Malaysian company, which was a major manufacturer for essential components for the satellites built by Starlink.

“Their (SpaceX and Starlink’s) intention is to see that this supply chain can be expanded among local companies, because with this new investment, they definitely need the support of a wider supply chain.

“And this will provide an opportunity for Malaysian companies to get involved in space technology in the near future,” he said.

Adding that Starlink’s presence was important for Malaysia to facilitate its digital transformation agenda, he said: “I believe that Starlink’s presence in Malaysia will be able to further strengthen Malaysia’s economic position in Southeast Asia and globally.”

Meanwhile, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) CEO Arham Abdul Rahman said that the negotiation process with SpaceX and Starlink was currently at the mid-stage.

“The companies see the potential in Malaysia, and the government is currently facilitating the process to realise their proposed project in the country,” he told Bernama.

Besides meeting with SpaceX and Starlink, Azmin also had a meeting with Cue Health Inc, a healthcare technology company that develops portable diagnostic tests for at-home use.

Azmin said the company had introduced a medical device specifically to perform a range of tests, including for Covid-19, using pioneerng technology.

“They have identified several suitable sites for this investment, and they will be in Malaysia in June to finalise a suitable place for the investment in Malaysia,” he said.

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