In 1997, Around the same time MSC Malaysia was established, the city of Cyberjaya was established with the vision of being a well-planned, intelligent city that is located midway between Kuala Lumpur city centre and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Envisioned to be Malaysia’s version of Silicon Valley, Cyberjaya was the first hub of the MSC Malaysia program. It was to be the destination of choice for big multinational tech companies and small startups alike, creating a working and living environment that is conducive to promoting creativity and innovation.
Cyberjaya is home to a number of multinational corporations including Dell, Shell, IBM and DHL to name a few. Back in its early days there were just 25 companies based in Cyberjaya, today the number has ballooned to 800, of which 40 are multinationals.
Truth be told, Cyberjaya has struggled over the years in achieving its objective. Though companies are drawn to it for the tax breaks and broadband facilities, many still prefer to work in KL. Also, many of the people employed in the city are tied to support and call centre services or what is termed as low-level employment. It is hardly churning out venture the Googles and Facebooks of the future.
Perhaps, Cyberjaya needs to chart its own path instead of being a copy of Silicon Valley. There is now renewed interest to develop the city to be a living lab. A test bed for new ideas for concepts by startups utilising the Internet of Things and one day become a full-fledged smart city.