The MSC framework was conceptualised in 1996 under Dr Mahathir’s 1st term as PM
By KEVIN WONG / Pic By TMR File
The tech sector is looking forward to the revival plan for Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) under Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after it had since deviated from its initial objective.
“We created Cyberjaya to concentrate on high technology, electronic and information technology (IT) industries there, but now, it has become just another town with the usual housing development,” Dr Mahathir said at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Kuala Lumpur last week. The MSC was started in Cyberjaya in 1996.
Dr Mahathir added that with the policy on the MSC being reverted to its initial objective, more companies are expected to locate their plants and research laboratories in Cyberjaya. This, he hopes, will enable the tech corridor to live up to its name again.
The PM said the government will put in as much infrastructure as possible to attract people once more to Cyberjaya, in particular, and into the corridor.
Sunway University Business School economics Professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng welcomes the revival of the MSC by the PM as it would help the country move up the value chain of the digital economy.
“With the emerging new clusters of IT businesses in the tech industry and also in various sectors, the government must facilitate and help startups to churn out the tech-savvy talents,” he said.
Yeah added that with new emerging markets such as e-commerce and cloud-based systems, the government should also deploy new technologies that are needed to gain a competitiveness edge in the global market.
“With the right ecosystem to push the adoption of new technology, it will help accelerate the country to move up the technological ladder andto gain more advanced technology. Additionally, it will push the workforce to be ready and to raise our productivity,” he stated, saying hence why there is a need to push for a new form of the MSC.
The revival plan should also be competitive to draw in industry players who are now opting to move to neighbouring countries like Singapore with its better incentives and talent pool.
Tech companies have welcomed the PM’s statement, indentifying tax and talent as a core issue for the MSC.
Dropee CEO Lennise Ng said Dr Mahathir’s comments have created a positive sentiment, and believes the MSC can help create a platform for the tech sector to work with traditional industries.
“Dr Mahathir’s plans to revive the MSC could help the implementation of research and development (R&D) technology to the traditional sectors and sectors that have yet to be modernise,” she said, adding that the tech sector can play a significant role to boost the country’s agriculture, manufacturing, retail and automotive industries.
Dropee is a start-up businessto- business marketplace that connects suppliers and retailers on a digital platform where it enables both to digitise sales orders and track inventories, and provides fulfillment of goods and access to real-time data.
In terms of a potential revival of the MSC, Ng welcomes the idea as the nation requires more talents to fulfil technology and innovative demands.
“While we are building our nation, for the short-term solution, we may have to welcome foreign talents that can contribute to the growth of the tech industry,” she told The Malaysian Reserve.
Meanwhile, Medkad Sdn Bhd CEO Ezuan Yaacob wants to see the MSC initiatives having a more start-upfriendly agenda.
“The government needs to have initiatives which cover areas like financial — tax exemptions and grants assistance, acquiring talent, and education and training. These will help start-ups as we need assistance to grow.
“I hope Dr Mahathir’s vision to use the MSC to be a global business facilitator for technology and to encourage R&D globally will come to fruition,” the 38-year-old said.
The revitalising of the MSC initiatives could help attract foreign investments, Ezuan said.
“Foreign investors are already finding the country to be a good investment country and with our PM’s visionary leadership together with a strong Cabinet, the future does look promising,” he said.
Medkad provides cost effective solutions for companies to manage their staff medical benefits and clinics.
Malaysia’s MSC was instrumental in the establishment of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma said last month on a trip here.
The MSC framework was conceptualised in 1996 under Dr Mahathir’s first term as PM to spearhead digital transformation in Malaysia.
The purpose of the framework was to boost and create a hub for innovative producers and users of multimedia technology, as well as to push towards the country’s goal of Vision 2020.
The MSC covers an area of 750 sq km (75,000ha) which stretches from the Petronas Twin Towers to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and including Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.
In Dec 7, 2006, Port Klang was also added to the MSC. To date, there are 3,241 active MSC-status companies which generate about RM47.1 billion of revenue, while creating 160,044 jobs.