The US government and the European Union (EU) have warned Malaysia not to allow Huawei to build out its 5G network infrastructure, claiming it might undermine national security and close the doors to other investors.
As per the Financial Times, in December 2022, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim initiated a review of the 5G network buildout contract given to the Swedish giant Ericsson. Allegedly, the awarding process wasn’t fully transparent.
At the same time, local operators urged the Malaysian government to allow for the creation of a second network, in order to hasten the deployment and boost security.
January 2024 deadline
Western governments are now concered that the second network could be given to Huawei, particularly since Malaysia approved the initiative last month. The second wholesale network should be completed by January 2024, it was said.
Now, the US ambassador to Malaysia, Brian McFeeters, reached out to senior officials in the Malaysian government saying “upending the current model” would hinder competitiveness, slow the growth of 5G, and even hurt the country’s international image of a business-friendly nation.
At the same time, ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Malaysia, Michalis Rocas, reminded the Malaysian government that the EU invested more than €25 billion and essentially said that awarding Huawei the deal would make the country less attractive to investors.
Huawei has been a problematic presence in the eyes of Western leaders ever since the Trump administration, which argued the Chinese telecoms giant was being abused by the Chinese government. The company could be forced by its government to install backdoors into its infrastructure, to allow Chinese spies to eavesdrop on vital communications in the West, the officials claimed.
Both the Chinese government and Huawei representatives denied these claims adamantly, with the latter saying it was never asked something like that, nor would it comply. But this still didn’t prevent some countries in the West, including the US, to ban Huawei from building out key 5G infrastructure elements.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.