Category Archives: Resilience

Malaysia Smart Cities and Challenges

1_cyberjaya-funmap-2011-finaldraftThe Smart City intuitive in Malaysia can be exemplified by several initiatives or projects at national (Cyberjaya and Iskandar Smart City) and state level (Selangor and Penang). Having launched in 1999 by Malaysia former Prime minister, Cyberjaya was aimed to be among the first intelligent cities in Asia. The idea to turn Cyberjaya into a smart city was only mandated around 2013 to Cyberview Sdn Bhd that previously known landowner of Cyberjaya. The smart city initiative aims to improve urban living and lifestyle, promote greater sustainability for the city and encourage overall growth of economic activities through the mass adoption of intelligent technologies.” [1] To enable that, Cyberview introduce the “Open Concept” to encourage new idea, challenges and attract Business to be part of the community. To date, Cyberjaya may live to its expectation which is to drive new Knowledge Economy for the nation, similar to Silicon Valley in USA,in with many MNCs, technology providers, Datacenters, Universities, start ups and incubators already set foot as part of Cyberjaya Community. The evolution of Cyberjaya a true smart city is currently ongoing, enabled by the concept of Living Lab to encourage new startup, technology and smart services provider to experiment their smart solution within Cyberjaya. To date several components of smart services such as smart traffic management and smart building and surveillance are among the component readily deployed in Cyberjaya.

Iskandar Smart City [2]

In 2011, the idea of Smart Cities and Smart Villages driven by science and technology was on the agenda of the inaugural meeting of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) chaired by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in New York (GSIAC is an advisory council to the Federal Government and includes two Nobel Laureates and leading international economist, Jeffrey Sachs among its members) (iproperty,n.d.) In 2006, the 2,217 sq km of economic growth corridor in southern Johor Malaysia launched a high-impact development to help bring the country’s first world economy under a 20-year plan.

The foundations of this framework lie in a deeply researched model that enables the implementation of a more holistic smart cities component. The 3 Areas of Economy, Environment and Social cross-balances with the 6 Dimensions of Smart Economy, Smart Governance, Smart Environment, Smart Mobility, Smart People and Smart Living to create a foundational lattice upon which we are building the city of our dream.  Similar to Cyberjaya, the Iskandar Smart city is driven by the Government initiative which can be rooted back to the National Economic Plan. These projects were aimed to attract foreign investors, grow local economy (increase employment opportunity and businesses) while improve quality of lives by leveraging smart technologies.

Selangor Smart City and Penang Smart City Initiatives

The complete smart city Blueprint was initially expected to be published by December 2016 but not readily available. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve 3 things; sustainability, efficiency, and livability. The Selangor Smar City framework is focusing on 12 pillars Smart City Initiative [4] which can be seen as technologically or infrastucture driven (include components such as smart waste management, smart disaster management, smart agro etc). In the state of Penang, the focus is set on improving transportation system to serve the city. The initiative that is still in the proposal stage driven to create room for the island’s 117 multinational companies and 471 SMEs to expand.

The Challenges


According to the Director of Iskandar Development Region (IRDA, the government agency tasked to develop Iskandar Smart City), Technology and private sector investment are the two major challenges for smart cities but the support of the people is equally important. Citizen need to be kept informed so they understand fully what is happening, what the Smart City, how changes will affect their lives, what are the benefits and opportunities for them. Hence, despite the technology and financial, Social impact to society cannot be overlooked. New technology introduced within the smart component may be disruptive and may cause significant change of lifestyle, Technology such as Uber for example has sparked some protest from local Taxi Drivers who have been operating for many years. Similarly Smart Energy Metering pilot are also triggering some heated discussion over the media over how far will the automation will reduce job demand in the future.

Other than that, all the stakeholders of the city needs to also embrace the initiative. Collaboration with government, the private sector and communities need to be seen as an ongoing process to keep all parties in harmony to achieve the established standards. This include the use of e-government to improve public services and social SafeCam surveillance, introduction of smart traffic system as well public awareness programs such as promoting low-carbon lifestyle.[5]