Business Groups Describe Malaysia’s Internet Capabilities As “Embarrassing”

All of us are probably aware of that Malaysia does not have the best internet connection. We’re slow, we’re laggy and there’s only some places (mostly in urban areas) where the internet is considered fast and there’s not that many.

Yes, we are moving towards better technology, better connections and telcos are developing and launching 5Gs but is it enough? Are we doing well or just okay?

In Southeast Asia , Malaysia has the 3rd largest GDP, both in total and per capita, but Speedtest ‘s Global Index ranks it 6th regionally in mobile data speed and 83rd in the world. My goodness we need to step up.

But our broadband speed isn’t so bad in Southeast Asia. We ranked at 3rd place, but this rank is slightly misleading as home WiFi speeds in Thailand and Singapore are more than double the average speeds recorded in Malaysia and are among the fastest in the world.

Shaun Edward Cheah, executive director of the International Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, called this disparity “embarrassing” and said it was the product of telecommunication companies’ poor investment practices. Ouch.

He said the problem was that there’s not enough ports, causing data to be backed up and delayed when too many people are using the system at one time.

World Bank Group lead economist, Richard Record said the lack of adequate access to high quality internet in Malaysia was wasting the potential of those left wanting because it is difficult to write a resume on a smartphone and not easy to rely on a mobile connexion to run a company.

Slow mobile speeds compound the matter, he said, adding that this was a worrying trend given the country’s aspirations for a digital future built on e-commerce, automation and artificial intelligence.

SL Rajesh, a fellow at the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, said relying on lacklustre connectivity made company infrastructures fragile.

“In the process of automating software, you need powerful internet services to enable the AI to function. If the internet is slow, all the processes that the company relies on will be slow as well,” he said.

These 3 people agreed that existing fibre infrastructure needed to be improved by optimising the current system to improve urban speed and consistency and by expanding the cables’ reach into rural areas.


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