Malaysia Pushes MSC into 2nd Phase
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysia was pushing its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project into a second phase after chalking up exports totaling US$711 million last year. He said that the MSC's contribution to the country's development after 10 years has been impressive, and that it is now time to roll out the MSC nationwide.
"The aim is to expand the MSC's corridor network throughout the country to bridge the digital gap between those with access to information and communications technologies and those without," Abdullah said after launching a second cyber center in the city of Malacca, south of Kuala Lumpur, recently.
The new cyber center, the Malacca International Trade Centre (MITC), is equipped with wireless broadband connectivity of up to 6Mbps and world-class infrastructure. The center is the second building to receive MSC status after Kuala Lumpur Sentral, a transportation hub in the city center.
Abdullah said more cyber centers and cyber cities would be established in different parts of the country, which go beyond the originally designated 750 km2 corridor built around Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. Apart from Cyberjaya, other cyber cities which belong to the second phase of the plan include Cyber City One in Penang and Kulim Hi-tech Park in Kedah.
Abdullah added that the MSC has created 40,000 jobs with 1,522 international and local companies investing. Although several MSC startups had folded in last decade, the corridor was boosted by investments from companies such as Dell, DHL, Shell, BMW, Satyam and EDS, which helped transform the MSC to a regional IT outsourcing, logistics and shared services hub.
Abdullah has also called for a review of incentives and an audit of future companies applying for MSC-status to ensure quality and preserve the MSC brand.
His assurance came after criticism in early June from Infosys Technologies Ltd chairman N R Narayana
Murthy, who said that Infosys had become bogged down during its plans to set up a center in the MSC.
Apparently the company experienced numerous delays in obtaining approvals for entry visas and work permits from local authorities in Malaysia. Murthy, however, said that the company remained interested in entering Malaysia.
Abdullah said MSC's 2nd phase would attract more investors and help renew interest in the project during its nationwide roll-out. He said that 61 local IT companies and eight MSC-status multinationals had already set up base in Malacca, indicating the confidence in the infrastructure and services provided by MSC.
by Julian Matthews
Samtel Industries: www.samtelgroup
Silicon Laboratories: www.silabs.com
WiMedia Alliance: www.wimedia.org
(August 2006 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)