The European Union and the United States have issued a warning to Malaysia over the risks to national security and foreign investment if China’s Huawei Technologies is allowed to participate in the country’s 5G rollout.
The warning comes as Malaysia is finalizing a review of its 5G network. The government had initially awarded Ericsson an 11 billion ringgit ($2.5 billion) tender to build a state-owned 5G network but later decided to review the decision.
The EU and US envoys to Malaysia reportedly wrote to the government in April, citing security concerns, after the government had dismissed security concerns raised by the US in the past.
the US ambassador to Malaysia, Brian McFeeters, wrote in one of the letters, “Senior officials in Washington agree with my view that upending the existing model would undermine the competitiveness of new industries, stall 5G growth in Malaysia, and harm Malaysia’s business-friendly image internationally.”
He added, “Allowing untrusted suppliers in any part of the network also subjects Malaysia’s infrastructure to national security risks.”
The Malaysian 5G roll-out has seen several setbacks due to industry concerns over pricing and transparency.
Moreover, there are worries that a single government-run network could result in a nationalized monopoly. Huawei had been seen as the leading candidate for the contract.
The Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Digital, Huawei, the EU delegation to Malaysia, and the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur have not commented on the issue yet.
Concerns have been raised that if Huawei is allowed to bid, Malaysia’s business-friendly image internationally could be damaged, and the competitiveness of new industries could be undermined.