Should the Multimedia Super Corridor be reviewed?

By Julian Matthews

When Tengku Dr Azzman Shariffadeen, chief executive of Mimos Bhd, called for a review of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project in August, one would have thought it would cause a stir in Malaysia. At best, one expected a media frenzy of follow-ups to encourage public debate on the controversial project. At worst, the powers-that-be would issue some form of damage-control counter statement. Instead, the comment passed without official reaction, echoing in the hallways of Malaysia’s active rumor mill until it faded into oblivion.

The apparent silence on the part of MSC promoter Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) and the over 240 investor companies of the project–including some of the largest information technology and telco players in the world–was deafening.

Did the non-reaction suggest apathy or were investors too self-involved to care? Or have all its stakeholders become so wary of the fact that it doesn’t pay to be critical in Malaysia, especially not about the Prime Minister’s multi-billion-ringgit pet project?
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E-Village: Malaysia goes Mollywood

By Julian Matthews

You will be forgiven if in five years’ time, you visit Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) expecting dust-free cleanrooms teeming with white-smocked scientists and engineers hunched over tiny electronic components, only to find otherwise.

Instead, if Charmaine Augustin of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) should have her way, the MSC would be filled with pony-tailed men in shades rather than bunnymen in masks.

As senior manager of the Creative Multimedia Cluster, the newest division of the MDC, Augustin is eager to transform Malaysia’s 15km by 50km digital corridor into an area more akin to Hollywood and Disneyland combined, rather than a clinical and sterile technopolis.

“There will be studios and sets for movie-makers, theme parks and resorts for the tourists, and digital animation labs and film schools for students,” she said.

The MSC will be abuzz with the stuff of stars. In it you can expect to find directors and producers, cameramen and editors, actors and actresses, gaffers and grips, special-effects crew and stuntmen, animators and digital effects artists–all involved in the creative process of churning out blockbuster movies, hit TV shows, and popular cartoons.

In short, it is hoped your future visit to the MSC will leave you both shaken, and stirred.

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Malaysia launches venture capital fund for MSC

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia is launching a RM120 million (US$31.6 million) venture capital fund, the first of its kind specifically for the Multimedia Super Corridor project.

The fund will be set up by project facilitator Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) and government investment arm Khazanah Nasional.

MDC executive chairman Dr Othman Yeop Abdullah said the fund will be targeted at small and medium-scale local start-ups and foreign-local joint-venture companies that have committed to the project.
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Malaysia yanks flawed list of advisors

By Julian Matthews
Monday, June 14 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–Official Web pages containing names of industry icons purportedly being members of an international advisory panel for Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor project were suddenly removed Friday.

The Multimedia Development Corporation, the government agency which is responsible for maintaining the lists, pulled the entire US mirror site and revised another list at its Malaysian Web site.

In a statement issued on Friday, it said the US mirror site was “now defunct and its contents are no longer valid.”

MDC did not explain how the false information came to be included on the MSC Web sites–which are the official sources for updates on the progress of the project.

When contacted by CNET Malaysia, an MDC spokesperson could not explain why the oversight occurred and refused to speculate.
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