By 2025, Selangor aspires to be South-East Asia’s premier smart state, leveraging on smart technology and innovations under 12 domains
by AFIQ AZIZ
LONG before the formation of Malaysia, and even prior to the conceptualisation of Malaya, Selangor was already laying its foundations, which also became integral to the development of the nation.
In the 19th century, when tin was first discovered in the state, merchants from the Straits Settlements and Singapore came in droves to set up their mining operations.
Menteri Besar Selangor Inc CEO Raja Shahreen Raja Othman said it will always be part of the nation’s history that Selangor, even way back then, was already actively wooing and attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs).
“When the tin, and later, rubber sectors boomed, Selangor opened its doors to workers from China and India, and in doing so, the state played a part in creating the present demographics in Malaysia.
“Then, when tin and rubber were abundant in the 50s and 60s, Malaysia’s economy was dependent on the export of those two commodities which also saw factories established in the next two decades.
“That was when the country’s economy became more focused on manufacturing,” he said at the Selangor Regional Powerhouse Conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Raja Shahreen said these factories, however, only ran on simple operations, performing through high labour-intensive tasks such as assembly works or textile production.
Fast-forward to now, from only making textiles and simple automotive parts, Selangor has become the home to many electric and electronics (E&E) firms, high-end automotive manufacturers and even the hub for aviation and aerospace.
It was also reported that the state was exploring its further potential in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Raja Shahreen said the shift to focus on advanced industries will allow the state to leverage on the Internet of Things, the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and artificial intelligence.
“Selangor is the pioneer, the trailblazer of Malaysia. And by becoming the first Asean’s premier smart state through the Smart Selangor initiative, it is again setting the pace,” he said.
To achieve this, the state has formulated 60 initiatives under the Smart Selangor Programme in late 2015, which is envisioned to provide solutions to the needs of its growing population, which is now reaching some five million people.
By 2025, Selangor aspires to be South-East Asia’s premier smart state, leveraging on smart technology and innovations under 12 domains.
According to the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit (SSDU), within the next six years, the unit is expected to ramp up its work to ensure that all the initiatives could be executed.
Deputy programme director Dr Fahmi Ngah said currently, about 25, or one-third of the total programmes, had been implemented.
He said the programmes had consumed around RM25 million from the total budget allocated by the state government, that were mainly given as grants to private corporations.
The state listed 12 domains that would achieve the overall target, four of which are smart waste management, smart transport and mobility, smart governance and smart digital infrastructure.
SSDU is an entity responsible for planning and implementing smart initiatives to realise the vision of Selangor as a premier regional smart state by 2025.
Among the first significant achievement is the introduction of the SSDU command and control centre, a centralised data collection and control room that monitors the waste management contractors’ performance in 2017.
Fahmi said SSDU is expected to request for more budget to further accelerate the development of its initiatives.
“I cannot reveal it now, but we only have six years before 2025, so to ensure that we can implement the initiative, we would need funds to do so,” he said. SSDU was only initially allocated RM10 million in 2015 to start its pilot programme.
This year, Fahmi said Smart Selangor Parking application would cover the whole state. The application is now used by 12 of the 14 municipal councils (PBTs) in the state.
He said currently, the apps already have some half a million users. Only the Klang Municipal and Kuala Selangor District Council have yet to join the programme.
Via the apps, all public parking under the PBT purview will be paid through the platform.
“We are also expanding our Waze application feature which was previously only equipped to report potholes in the state. Later this year, this app can be used to report accidents, or in the event of a flood, traffic disruptions and fire incidents.
“The report will go to the state disaster management unit with the ability to trace the live locations of the reports,” Fahmi said.
As for the digital infrastructure, Selangor highspeed Internet penetration rate has reached 60%.
The state aims to increase it to 100% by 2025.
A one-stop centre application that allows Selangor citizens to pay and check their outstanding bills is also expected to be launched in the next two months.
“For a start, four PBTs are expected to be part of the pilot project. The PBTs are Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Sabak Bernam and Subang Jaya.
“With this application, people do not have to physically wait for the statement to reach their houses. When they apply small trader licences, or pay assessment tax and compounds, they can check if they have any arrears owing to the state.
“We plan to start with these three payment items first before moving to another category such as water bill.
“We are also in the middle of discussing with Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd. There is also a plan to allow users to pay zakat through this platform in the future,” Fahmi said.
He added that based on the track record of the future applications, the state is positive that such project would attract a lot of users.
“Historically, we already have 500,000 registered users for the Smart Selangor Parking apps, while 100,000 downloads for the Selangor Intelligent Transport System (SITS).
“However for SITS, only 80,000 active users are recorded daily,” he said.
Established two years ago, SITS provides the users real data and time on more than 100 electrical Smart Selangor buses that are deployed to cater for not less than 34 routes in Selangor.
Last December, SSDU inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Grab Malaysia — a collaboration that would focus on realising the objectives of Smart Selangor’s smart traffic and mobility initiative.
The initiative is aimed at increasing the use of public transportation, improve pedestrian mobility and reduce traffic in major city centres.
The project is expected to enable real-time data-based policies for more effective solutions to be deployed at both the state and local municipalities.
To bring the community closer to their assemblymen, SSDU has also developed the Community Opinion Online or COOL, which would provide Selangor citizens a platform to voice their opinions to the state administration.
The apps would also allow citizens to “follow” their assemblymen, or PBT programmes and activities.
However, Fahmi said at present, the apps had only received about 400 downloads, which leave quite a significant space for further improvements.
Fahmi said all in all, the projects had significantly benefitted the Selangor population. He added it is also pivotal to continue the Smart Selangor initiatives as part of the government’s endeavour to fulfil the people’s need for the state to grow further.
Today, Selangor, as a long-established economic heartbeat for the nation, had recorded an approximately US$80 billion (RM330 billion) as at 2018, contributing almost a quarter of the national GDP.
Its GDP per capita of around RM48,000 is the third-highest among all the states in Malaysia, after Penang and Sarawak.
In terms of socio-economic indicators, Selangor’s literacy rate stands at 98.1%, higher than the national average of 95%.
It is also home to some 160 institutes of higher learning including public and private universities, as well as branch campuses of renowned international institutions.
The higher learning institutes contribute more than 40,000 graduates to the workforce annually, with graduates armed with necessary skills and know-how to meet the needs of industries in Selangor.
With a workforce of 3.4 million people, Selangor is the largest contributor to employment in Malaysia, many of whom are working in highskilled, high-value jobs in industries such as E&E, automotive and aerospace.
Port Klang in Selangor is now the 12th busiest port in the world. It handled 11.978 million tonnes of container in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang is the 12th busiest airport in Asia, managing 59.988 million passengers in 2018.
Last year, the Selangor government attracted FDIs worth RM18.9 billion — one of the highest recorded in this country with 241 manufacturing projects approved in the state alone.
Of the total, the E&E sector has contributed RM35 billion in investments over 30 years, while the transportation equipment sector, including aerospace-related industries, has brought in investments worth RM25 billion over three decades. Life sciences alone has generated investments worth RM13 billion.
It is fascinating to witness how Selangor has evolved throughout the centuries.
From merely a “tin” state to a prosperous territory where most of the billionaires are living in, surrounded by megastructures and skyscrapers.