Malaysian ISPs: struggling to keep pace

By Julian Matthews

Intel CEO Craig Barrett, on a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, graded Malaysia’s Internet access performance a poor “C”.

He based this on the fact that the country had only two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and a users-per-population ratio of 2.5 percent, compared to 15 percent in other countries in Asia.

Malaysia also received a “B Minus” for total international bandwidth which, at only 243 Mbps, lagged behind continent leader South Korea with 518 Mbps.
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Cisco CEO denies he is part of MSC panel

By Julian Matthews
Thursday, June 10 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–Cisco Systems president and CEO John Chambers has denied ever being an advisor to Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor project, despite being officially listed as one.

Chambers said he is “not planning to be a part of this panel and has not been a part of it in the past,” in a statement via his executive assistant Debbie Gross.

The list of advisors can be found on the Web site of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the agency responsible for developing the MSC.

The panel advises Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on the strategic direction and policies of the project and is due to meet for the third time on July 8 in Malaysia.
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Paving the way to one-card utopia

By Julian Matthews, June 4, 1999

On the surface, the premise for Malaysia’s national multipurpose card (MPC) project seems logical–a single smartcard to combine all functions and then some, instead of the various cards cluttering one’s wallet.

Embedded on a chip on the card would be one’s identity, medical details, driving license, and passport. It would also double as credit, debit, e-cash and automated teller machine (ATM) card.

With a thumb print or identity number, the card could also function as an access key for individualized applications such as club memberships, ticket-less air travel, shopping discounts or allowing access to buildings and restricted areas.
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Toffler to boycott MSC meeting

By Julian Matthews
Wednesday, June 02 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–Renowned author and futurist Alvin Toffler will not attend Malaysia’s high-profile Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) advisors meeting in July to protest the treatment of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and Pakistani scientist Dr Munawar Anees.

“Even though I still believe the MSC would be valuable for the country, I cannot, after what was done to Dr Anees and the outcome of the Anwar trial, participate in the project, ” said Toffler in an email to CNET Asia.

As a member of the MSC international advisory panel (IAP), Toffler and other advisors are invited for annual meetings to discuss and review progress of the project.

Anwar and Dr Anees were arrested on sex charges last September during the height of Malaysia’s financial crisis. Both claimed brutality and ill-treatment while in police custody.

Toffler indicated that despite his non-attendance, he has not formally resigned from the panel. “But if my name has been dropped from the list, it reflects the de facto reality.”
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MSC to Drive Millennium Products

In the last year Malaysia’s high-tech dreams were severely tested when the government grappled with a political and financial crisis that spooked investors and threatened to undermine its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project.

The government maintains, despite major delays, that the project is still on track. One of the primary aims of the project is for companies within the corridor to build products and services for the new millennium.

Already several smaller companies linked to the project have begun to show promise. Local smartcard players TL Technology Research (M) Sdn Bhd and Iris Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd are developing the “e-pass,” an integrated multi-function smartcard touted as a “wallet PC.”
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