Lim accused Wee of allowing his ego to get in the way of his job after Annuar’s comments that Wee’s cabotage policy was defective and led to Malaysia losing billions in revenue.
Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng has questioned if Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong will now also claim that his cabinet colleague is wrong about the cabotage policy impacting tech giants’ investments in the country.
Lim noted that Wee had criticised then Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairperson Rais Hussin for calling him out on the cabotage policy, insisting that it had nothing to do with Facebook and Google’s decision to bypass Malaysia in the regional Apricot undersea internet cable project.
However, Lim said Communication and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa have now made a similar assertion that the unresolved cabotage policy had caused Facebook and Google to shy away from Malaysia.
“Now the communications and multimedia minister has openly repudiated Wee as wrong. Will either one of the ministers have to resign?
“More importantly, who is telling the truth and guilty of misleading Parliament when both contradictory replies are made in Parliament?” Lim said in a statement today.
Rais later called Wee a “minister with the IQ of a cabbage” and subsequently resigned as the MDEC chairperson.
The previous Pakatan Harapan government had granted an exemption on foreign ships in the repair of undersea internet cables, but this was revoked by Wee.
Tech giants, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, have appealed to the government repeatedly to reinstate the Harapan-era cabotage exemption for the repair of undersea cables as they say it is necessary to ensure speedy repairs and stable internet.
However, an adamant Wee has insisted that the cabotage policy won’t impact tech investments and stressed that it was necessary to protect the local shipping industry.
Lim questioned if Wee is still holding on to that position.
“Will Wee repeat his mantra that the communications and multimedia minister is wrong just like Rais is wrong – that Wee’s defective cabotage policy has caused Apricot’s 12,000-kilometre-long submarine cable to bypass Malaysia?
“Apricot will connect Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia but will bypass Malaysia due to Wee’s refusal to grant cabotage exemption for foreign ships carrying out submarine cable repairs,” Lim said.
Lim said the MIDF Research house had estimated that Malaysia’s exclusion from the Facebook and Google-backed Apricot subsea cable will result in a loss of high-capacity connectivity and investment worth US$300 million-US$400 million.
Rais had further said that the revocation of the cabotage exemption policy for submarine cable repairs has also caused the loss of some RM12 billion to RM15 billion worth of digital investment.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was also urged to intervene and reverse Wee’s decision.
Lim said the DAP was actively pushing for the reversal of the policy on the basis of protecting “the future of our young”.
“There is too much at stake than the ego of Wee who refuses to admit that he was wrong.
“This concerns RM12-15 billion of investments in the digital future of our country,” he said. – Malaysiakini