Microsoft’s Gates Says MSC a Part of Web Lifestyle

By Julian Matthews

March 30, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) — Microsoft Corp. chairman and CEO Bill Gates said the vision of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is in harmony with the concepts of the “digital nervous system” (DNS) and the “Web lifestyle” that he advocates.

Gates uses the term digital nervous system to describe how governments can employ technology to efficiently manage and use information, and how businesses can compete globally.

Speaking to about 3,000 people at the Putra World Trade Centre, on “The Connected Community,” he described living the Web lifestyle. He said people will rely on the Internet to interact online with the government and private companies from work or home.

Gates’ visit was part of a tour to Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

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Microsoft CEO Gates Supports Multimedia Corridor

By Julian Matthews

March 26, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) — Microsoft Corp. chairman and CEO Bill Gates said the Malaysian government is wise for embracing information technology and he pledged support for the nation’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project.

“I am very excited about the MSC. It will not only make Malaysia a leader in IT skills, but those skills will help in every sector it competes in,” he said.

Gates, who is member of the MSC advisory panel, said the key elements for the project are already in place.

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Penang insights

By Anita Devasahayam

PENANG Insights, the brainchild of Asiatel Sdn Bhd, was built in 1996 to generate hits and draw visitors to its web community, says graphic designer Chin Mun Woh.

Asiatel chose Penang because “the managers here are typically diehard Penangites who love their homeland and are willing to promote it using their own resources,” says Chin, who designed the site with his partner Adrian Cheah.

“As the popularity of the site grew, Asiatel decided it needed an update and revamp, and gave us the job.

“Our initial solution was to boost content and embellish the site,” he says, adding that additional content was sourced from a variety of books and magazines.
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Doing it their way

By Anita Devasahayam

THE ability to make ideas a reality has launched the careers of Penang-based graphic designers Chin Mun Woh and Adrian Cheah, and into inter(net)tional stardom.

The Net is instrumental in helping them, as they put it, “reach out and touch” their audience.

Check out Penang — a 75-page dossier on Penang which was entirely written and illustrated by Chin and Cheah. The three-month long labour of love resulted in a delightfully written saga of Penang, filled with insights not commonly found in books. Subjects include Why Penang Sucks, Penang Drivers, and the usual food, shopping, lodging and places-to-go guides (see related story).
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Malaysia OKs Higher Foreign Equity for Telcos, New ISPs

By Julian Matthews

March 5, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) — The Malaysian government has raised the ceiling on foreign ownership of telecommunication companies to 49 percent from 30 percent, and granted four new Internet service provider licenses.

Energy, Telecommunications and Posts Minister Leo Moggie said the moves were aimed at further liberalizing the industry.

Foreign parties interested in acquiring stakes in local telcos must have proven track records and be able to add value to the companies they are buying into, he said. Analysts said raising foreign equity was a lifeline to local operators facing tight liquidity as a result of the region’s financial crisis.

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Slowdown Shaves IT Growth to 12 percent

By Julian Matthews

The Asian financial meltdown has begun to take its toll and the signs of a slowdown in 1998 are already showing.

O K Lee, chairman of the northern branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, said a number of manufacturers have begun to downsize their operations and have frozen recruitment, controlled overtime, and reduced shifts.

“The slowdown has mainly affected companies which have high imports of equipment and raw materials and are dependent on local and regional markets,” he said. He added that companies that have taken out foreign loans are also in a bind.

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