Cyberjaya may be the next dream city to stay if plans to make it a technology and start-up hub is on track
MENTION Cyberjaya, and you might get: “Cyberwhat?” For the clueless, this is the development, located just next to Putrajaya (that’s the federal administrative capital, in case you don’t know that either!), that started off 20 years ago as the nucleus of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
Cyberjaya was then deemed the city of the future. Now it is touted as the “capital of creation” because of the more than 95,000 creative minds who work or study there on a normal work day!
But the funny thing is, half that population disappears at nightfall as they scurry back to wherever they call home – KL? Puchong? Dengkil?
So the challenge now is to make more people stay in Cyberjaya and not just work there. Maybe the emergence of the first 24-hour American fastfood chain restaurant there after some 19 years may help change the demographics – the younger population, anyway.
Until the Maju Expressway came into being some five years ago, I tend to go astray when travelling to Cyberjaya and would land in some god-forsaken barren scrubland called Pulau Meranti, which is now part of Cyberjaya.
I later discovered that Pulau Meranti is the oldest village in the Puchong area (now a glitzy township, a far cry from days of old with many cattle and poultry roaming about the rubber and oil palm estates).
Many of its original residents come from Palembang, Sumatra (just like Parameswara, the prince who founded the Malacca Sultanate in the 14th century).
And if you think with a ‘pulau’ in its name, the place is an island, think again!
I was told that many years back, a teacher got a transfer letter to a school in Pulau Meranti. Thinking that she was going to teach on an island and being someone who tended to get seasick, she appealed against the transfer, citing her aversion to boat travel.
There isn’t an island there, but back then, there was plenty of uninhabited land. I know of a clerk who squatted on a piece of land and was subsequently given a land title.
But the resourceful clerk, Augustin by name, wasn’t dreaming of building a castle there. He had the good sense to make use of the barren land by rearing a few kids (not his own but the younglings of goats).
Today, I hear he is doing quite well from the produce of his four-legged animals. But that man still hasn’t invited me to his “hacienda” to help him enjoy some of that!
Cyberjaya has also come of age with a lot more development, especially in the last five years. I suspect it would have grown at an even faster rate if the authorities then had not succumbed to persuasion and allowed other MSC-wannabes in other zones.
A joint venture company, Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd, has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that Cyberjaya is properly planned and developed.
The name Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal or M.K. springs to mind easily when one talks about Cyberjaya’s early development.
Today, his son, Ahmad Khalif, or A.K., has taken on the mantle of Setia Haruman’s executive chairman to further develop Cyberjaya.
Full of ideas and energy, A.K. relishes with pride that Cyberjaya is now home to more than 1,700 business entities, of which 482 are MSC-status companies. IBM, HP, Dell, Huawei, Shell, BMW and HSBC are just some of the international brands that call Cyberjaya their home.
As a secondary education hub, Cyberjaya also houses four colleges, two universities, with another globally-acclaimed British institution on its way.
It also plays host to 26 data centres, including those of Bank Negara Malaysia and Google.
In the next five years, A.K. says Cyberjaya will see the development of two hospitals, a convention centre and a techtheme park to complement the needs of the community.
“The aim for us as the city builder of Cyberjaya is to elevate the city’s image to not only a technology and start-up hub, but also as a liveable city with a total population of 500,000 people,” A.K. says.
Yes, make it more liveable. Just make sure that some developers don’t build their carpark access that seem to only fit tiny hatchbacks!
Being a greenfield project with little physical limitations, do make Cyberjaya a really iconic and awesome liveable city with great work-life balance or integration in the next 20 years to honour its name as Malaysia’s top IT hub.
Source : The Sun (Malaysia) 8 Mar 2017
Jeff Yong, after making his mark in the twisty maze of mainstream journalism, has finally decided to enjoy what he does best – observing the unusual and recounting the gleeful. Contact him at email@example.com.