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  One man's vehicle to the stars

Undoubtedly, the project is ambitious in its scope. The MSC is a 750 sq km area, mostly covered with palm oil and rubber plantations, to be transformed into integrated "intelligent" cities to host government ministries, research institutions and technology companies.

Participants would collaborate, experiment, develop and commercialize new laws, products and services and serve it up to the global marketplace via high bandwidth links.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had chosen the MSC as his vehicle to the stars. It was to be his crowning achievement after 18 years in power. The MSC would be the pulsating hub of the new digital economy. It would pull his people out from being an agricultural backwater and industrial sweatshop into the Information Age.

The carrot to draw investors to commit early to the project was the government's offer of "MSC status".

Companies with MSC status were promised 10-year tax holidays, unrestricted import of knowledge workers, 100 percent foreign ownership of companies, globally competitive telecom tariffs, and preference to tenders for key MSC infrastructure contracts.

Mahathir became the project's No. 1 salesman, whizzing to the U.S., Japan and Europe to entice investors.

Until September last year, despite the recession, Malaysia's MSC seemed still on course. The government had formulated pioneering laws on computer crime, digital signatures, telemedicine, copyright and multimedia convergence. The promised infrastructure was being built, and multinational companies had pledged investments.

Then came the jolt.

 The 3 Phases Of MSC

Phase I: MDC successfully creates the MSC, attracts a core group of world-class companies, launches seven Flagship Applications, puts in place a world-leading framework of cyberlaws, and establishes Cyberjaya and Putrajaya as world-first intelligent cities.

Phase II: MDC links the MSC to other cybercities in Malaysia and the world. It will create a web of corridors and establish a second cluster of world-class companies. It will also set global standards in flagship applications, champion cyberlaws within the global society, and establish a number of intelligent globally linked cities.

Phase III: Final phase. Malaysia transforms into a knowledge-based society and true global test bed for new multimedia and IT applications, as well as a cradle for a record number of multimedia companies. The MSC will have a cluster of intelligent cities linked to the global information super highway, and become the platform for the International Cybercourt of Justice.


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