The role of technology in connecting the dots

Infrastructure-wise, Selangor is ‘well served’, but there is still ‘a lot of work’ to be done to connect the dots, says Dutt


Technology plays an important role in making things work. Equally critical is getting the right people behind the wheels.

These were among the pointers shared at a forum entitled “Selangor Synergies 5 — Connecting the Dots” last month, driven by Mentri Besar Selangor Inc (MBI Selangor).

Speaking to some 100 corporate participants, a group of CEOs of companies with a presence in Selangor shared how they are deploying technology in their respective areas. They included highway builder and operator Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) and information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider Mutiara Teknologi (M) Sdn Bhd.

Prolintas CEO Datuk Mohammad Azlan Abdullah spoke about how it uses technology primarily to monitor its four operating highways and two under construction.

On her part, Mutiara Teknologi CEO Puteri Mariana Abdul Majid highlighted one of her company’s major achievements, which was the implementation of the Malaysian Emergency Response System (MERS 999), a national emergency response system hosting a variety of public safety agencies across the country.

“The emergency system response contributes to shoring up investors’ confidence in the nation,” she said.

Others on the panel were Northport (M) Bhd CEO Datuk Azman Shah Mohd Yusof and Central Spectrum (M) Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Mahmud Abbas. Also present was MBI Selangor CEO Raja Shahreen Raja Othman.

Drones for Highways

At Prolintas, Mohammad Azlan said the company has an executive dashboard monitoring system to monitor the progress and activities in real-time feed which provides camera and video imaging.

However, it is not all “click and play”. He added that relying on technology alone may not be totally effective and emphasised the importance of having the right people manning the stations.

“It’s how you prevent things from happening and how fast you respond to the situation at hand. What you do next (in any given situation) is important,” he said.

Mohammad Azlan also noted that the usage of drones is becoming more widespread — especially in the planning stages. For example, drones assist in determining the alignment of the highways. The 3D imaging produced allows the various stakeholders to make better decisions.

“When we build highways in matured and commercial areas, we do our best to minimise inconvenience. The usage of drones help in the process,” he said.

Emergency Response

Elaborating on MERS 999, Puteri Mariana said it took some effort to integrate the various emergency response units — the police, fire, ambulance, maritime enforcement and the civil defence.

“The effort is an envy of the developed world. They have been in the industry much earlier, but have failed to do it.

One of the participants at the forum during a question-and-answer session (Source: MBI)

“We started this initiative in 2007. Up till now, we have seen evolution of not only the system and technology, but also the process. That was one of the major obstacles.

“You may have the state-of-the-art system, but if you don’t manage it and don’t have a standard operating procedure, the system will not ‘fly’. It has to blend in with the operations and management of the organisation,” she said.

The emergency system currently gets about 2.4 million calls annually, including prank calls.

She noted that the systems developed by Mutiara Teknologi could be extended to other states and agencies.

At this juncture, she said the company is also in the last phase of the integrated flood mitigation system for the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, which will be extended to other states this year.

Connecting the Dots

In the opening speech at the fifth of the forum series, Dr Mohd Zulkufli Zakaria, an economic advisor at the Office of Mentri Besar Selangor, said the synergy and interconnectivity between the people, state, industry and technology are vital for Smart Selangor.

The synergy and interconnectivity between the people, state, industry and technology are vital for Smart Selangor, says Mohd Zulkufli
(Pic by Ismail Che Rus/TMR)

“A seamless business environment will only encourage rapid growth and the sharing of ideas on technology, innovation and business where they offer more efficient solutions that the state needs,” he told the forum.

In the keynote address, Dr Prodyut Dutt, then chief development officer of the now decommissioned Land Public Transport Commission, noted the central role played by Selangor.

“Since it contributes so much to the country’s revenue, we need to ensure that the infrastructure in this area is well-developed. In that way, the government can collect enough taxes to be spent in other states as well.

“Hence, the importance of Selangor to the whole nation — this is where so much of the economy is generated,” he said.

Commenting on the topic of the forum, he said: “The first thing to do before connecting the dots is to make sure you have the dots in the first place.”

Infrastructure-wise, he said Selangor is “well served”, but there is still “a lot of work” to be done to connect the dots.

The forum was part of the Selangor Synergies series aimed to inculcate awareness, buy-in and collaboration for the future with various stakeholders. The 12 focus areas of the Smart Selangor master plan were consolidated into a five-series forum.

It was spearheaded by MBI Selangor which acts as the strategic investment arm of the state of Selangor that stimulates economic growth, supports the state’s agenda and drives value creation
to sustain equitable wealth distribution.