Malaysia launches “crown jewel” of high-tech zone

By Julian Matthews, Malaysian correspondent

Published: July 8, 1999 11:35 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia–The Malaysian government officially opened Cyberjaya today, the country’s beleaguered but highly anticipated “intelligent city.”

Much enthusiasm was put behind the launch in an attempt to reaffirm that Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor project, of which Cyberjaya is a key component, is still on track.

“Any large and pioneering initiative will have its share of detractors and cynics. However, our success to date speaks for itself,” said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The multibillion-dollar project had been a favorite target of criticism by foreign media since it was announced three years ago.
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MDC claims Web site flaws were a “slip up”

By Julian Matthews
Tuesday, June 22 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the agency in charge of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, has ordered a revamp of its Web site.

Executive chairman Dr Othman Yeop said the mistaken inclusion of four prominent personalities listed as international advisors to the MSC project was the result of an oversight.

“There was a slip up. The names were proposed to the Prime Minister’s Department but had not yet been approved,” he said.

The four non-members were John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, John Doerr, founding partner of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Dr Robert Metcalfe, vice president of technology at International Data Group, and Prince Al-Waleed Talal Al-Saud, chairman of Kingdom Holding.
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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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Malaysian Web sites still not error-free

By Julian Matthews
Friday, June 18 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–The government of Malaysia touts the benefits of the Internet through its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative but is still unable to meet a basic requirement of the medium–regularly updated Web pages.

Ironically, Web sites maintained by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the government agency in charge of the MSC, were among those found wanting.

Last week, CNET Malaysia pointed out that two lists of members of an international advisory panel for the MSC were not updated and even contained false information.

Four prominent personalities were mistakenly listed as advisors to the panel, while others were not given correct managerial designations, even though some of these had changed over a year ago.

Following the story, MDC made an attempt to correct the situation. It took down its mirror site in the US which had incorrect information, and updated its Malaysian site.

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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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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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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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Malaysia’s MSC: Back on Track But Flaws Remain

Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project became an easy target for critics last year during its political and financial upheavals.

Street demonstrators were violently arrested in the capital city, anti-government Web sites were monitored, cybercafes were asked to take down personal details of patrons, and foreigners were blamed by the government for all its economic woes.

Could this be the same government vigorously supporting the information age and promising to build a high-tech Silicon Valley of the east?

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Malaysia’s e-government details emerge

KUALA LUMPUR–Microsoft says it will design an entirely new product specifically for Malaysia, an automated office system for the government, beginning with the Prime Minister’s office.

A customized desktop environment–called the Generic Office Environment (GOE)–will allow government users to collaborate, access and manage information in more meaningful ways, said Benedict Lee, managing director of Microsoft Knowledge Capital Center, the local representative company of the Seattle giant.

“The GOE will be a super-automated office system designed specifically for the government and government users.

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