PETALING JAYA: Japan’s NTT Ltd is building its sixth data centre in Cyberjaya to support its expanding business in the region, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

In a Facebook post yesterday following a meeting with NTT Limited vice-president and network services director Yoshio Sato, Dr Wee said that the Intra-Asia Express Cable connecting Japan, the Philippines, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia was progressing well.

Sato is currently on a short work visit to Malaysia.

“We welcome this positive development, and I am sure NTT will add much value to global cable connectivity and related industries in Malaysia.

“I assured (them) that the Transport Ministry (MOT) will continue to facilitate cable owners, including NTT, to invest in Malaysia in an effort to enhance our global connectivity,” he said, adding that he was given an update on the progress of the construction of NTT’s data centre at Cyberjaya.

NTT is the consortium leader with involvement in two major Internet cables, Apricot and MIST.

The Apricot cable system is a 12,000km subsea cable connecting Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore through a state-of-the-art submersible reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer employing a wavelength selective switch for a gridless and flexible bandwidth configuration, based on space division multiplexing design.

The Apricot consortium comprises Facebook, Google, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), PLDT and NTT.

MIST, the acronym for the Myanmar/Malaysia India Singapore Transit cable system, has a total length of 8,100km as it runs from Singapore to Malaysia to Myanmar to Thailand, all the way to India (Mumbai and Chennai).

The MIST cable system consists of 12 fibre pairs, with more than 216Tbps system capacity, with the investor being Orient Link Pte Ltd (OLL), a joint venture that also has NTT Ltd on board.

Dr Wee added that despite criticisms of MOT’s decision in November 2020 to reinstate the cabotage policy for foreign cable repair vessels, Sato was able to reassure Malaysia that the Apricot and MIST undersea cables were planned to complement each other from the very beginning to boost connectivity for Malaysia and the region.

Currently, the national cabotage policy does not ban foreign-flagged vessels from repairing undersea cables in Malaysian waters.

Foreign vessels can enter Malaysian waters and need only apply for an electronic domestic shipping licence before they can start work.

This process takes no more than three days for approval.

Introduced in January 1980, the former Pakatan Harapan government revoked the cabotage policy for cable repair works in April 2019, which exempted submarine cable maintenance vessels from applying for a domestic shipping license before starting work.

The cabotage policy for this specific work for subsea cables was reintroduced by MOT on Nov 16, 2020.