Singapore must make its own decision on Huawei

A Huawei customer service centre at 313@Somerset, on Feb 8, 2019.
A Huawei customer service centre at 313@Somerset, on Feb 8, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

As a former telecommunications executive, I find it interesting that the United States is encouraging its allies to ban Huawei products (Britain 'against' full ban on Huawei despite US urging, Feb 19).

Given Singapore's Smart Nation ambitions, we must show our independence in terms of assessment and evaluation of policies in the field of technology.

First, to be proactive, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore can conduct an independent assessment to ensure that our sovereignty is not compromised through the use of Huawei equipment.

M1 has been conducting trials with Huawei equipment since last year.

The result of this independent assessment should be published in order to guide local telcos in the future.

Second, Singapore must not be seen as bowing to third-party political will, so as not to be taken lightly on the international stage.

Third, 5G technology is an important development that must not be derailed. Banning a technology or a company without technological or legal justification would hurt Singapore's worldwide reputation as a fair and just society.

Lastly, Singapore has over 100 Chinese companies listed in the Singapore Exchange, and more than five million Chinese tourists visit yearly, making a big portion of our gross domestic product dependent on China. Even Huawei itself has launched its cloud services business here.

Singapore must make its own decision, given its foreign policy and domestic needs, and show the world that it is its own man.

Edward Tay Wee Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore must make its own decision on Huawei'. Print Edition | Subscribe