Touted as tycoon Ananda Krishnan’s right-hand man, Ralph Marshall had played a key role in the rollout of the Maxis and Astro network. PETALING JAYA: The Finance Ministry has announced the appointment of Augustus Ralph Marshall (pic) as the CEO of Digital Nasional Bhd, a special purpose vehicle that would undertake Malaysia’s RM15bil 5G rollout over the next 10 years. Touted as tycoon Ananda Krishnan’s right-hand man, he had played a key role in the rollout of the Maxis and Astro network. The ministry also announced the appointment of a four-member board of directors, led by Treasury secretary-general Datuk Asri Hamidon (pic below) as the chairman. The three other directors are the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit director-general Datuk Seri Dr Yusof Ismail, former Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chief Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi as well as senior lawyer Datuk Muthanna Abdullah. The Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the other senior management members of Digital Nasional would be announced in due course. “Digital Nasional will offer 5G services via a wholesale model that is regulated to ensure better transparency and implementation. It will be managed based on the appropriate governance framework, an open tender process for the 5G infrastructure development, and global best practices to ensure proper controls. “All telecommunications service providers will have open, fair and equal access in obtaining wholesale 5G network services for the development of retail services based on 5G technology, ” it said. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government would collaborate with the private sector players in the domestic telecommunications industry, to achieve the country’s 5G aspirations. “While Digital Nasional focuses on 5G infrastructure investments, the private sector players can focus on developing better products and services, without being saddled by heavy and duplicative capital expenditure. This is a win-win situation for all parties, including the telecommunication players, businesses and consumers, as we focus our efforts on being 5G-ready by end-2021, ” he said. It is imperative that the 5G network is deployed “quickly, systematically and professionally” to accelerate the country’s growth initiatives through the MyDigital initiative, which is aimed at ensuring socioeconomic progress.
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