“All aspirations towards the development of a digital society and a sustainable digital economy for Sabah people begin at Gerbang Sabah. The broadband connection capacity here will be channelled to the infrastructure such as fibre optic exchanges and telecommunication towers statewide,” he said.

Muhyiddin also expressed hope that the initiative would close the digital gap among the states in Malaysia apart from improving Sabah’s reputation in the eyes of the world.

Meanwhile, he said the capacity of the Malaysian People’s Cable System (SKRM) in Tanjung Aru had also been increased from 4.0 Terabit per second to 7.3 Terabit per second.

Sabah is the biggest beneficiary of the infrastructure development project under the government’s National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative with an estimated cost of RM2.45 billion, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

He said the implementation of the initiative would turn the broadband facilities and services for the people of Sabah to be at par with those provided in other states in Malaysia.

“The people of Sabah will have wider broadband access starting at the end of this year until 2022. A total of 419 new towers will be built and 1,972 existing transmitters will be upgraded to 4G.

“Besides, the fixed line fibre optic coverage will also be expanded to cover 251,166 premises across Sabah,” he said at the launch of Gerbang Sabah, which is the largest component of JENDELA to strengthen the construction of the national digital infrastructure, here today.

Also present were Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, and Telekom Malaysia Berhad chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

Muhyiddin said Gerbang Sabah is the Internet connection point between Sabah and the rest of the world, and is believed to be able to boost the state’s development and progress, besides preparing the people to face the future based on innovation and technology.

It is hoped that the initiative would also improve the level of connectivity as well as the quality of communication services experience nationwide through the development of faster and more comprehensive digital infrastructure.

“Gerbang Sabah will be the starting point to increase the digital capacity of the people in Sabah and open the opportunity for everyone to progress to greater heights in the future,” he said.

The prime minister said the government through the MCMC had also set up 133 Community Internet Centres to provide digital guidance to the people of Sabah, including to generate income through e-commerce activities.

As the youths are the most active group among broadband facility users, the government and service provider companies will work together to create special broadband access packages for them, such as through low cost services and attractive terms to help them meet the learning and communication needs of the new normal era, he said.

The Prime Minister said Telekom Malaysia had also upgraded and doubled the SKRM capacity by three times to achieve at least 12.8 Terabit per second in the next three to four years.

“This will involve an additional allocation of RM100 million to the original investment of RM575.5 million by the MCMC and Telekom Malaysia,” he said, adding that the SKRM capacity was vital to accommodate the increasing use of the Internet by the Sabah people and to support JENDELA objectives.

In a similar development, Muhyiddin said 96.9 per cent of the populated areas in the country will be covered by 4G services by 2022 before the government could upgrade it to 5G.

“I would like to repeat the Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) commitment to transform the JENDELA action plan and the launch of Gerbang Sabah is an important part of the initiave,” he said.