The Malaysian Government has moved to shelter its high-technology Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project from the effects of the current regional economic downturn by setting up $US965 million infrastructure fund and by acquiring a majority stake in the project's main developer.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the move was to ensure that the development of the crucial central Cyberjaya zone in the MSC would not be hindered by the ongoing Asia-Pacific economic crisis. The infrastructure fund would ensure all basic infrastructure for the MSC will be on schedule, Anwar said, adding that parts of the project are already a year ahead of schedule.
The awarding of MSC status permits companies to work in the MSC and entitles them to profit from the zone's benefits including the waiver of income tax for a maximum of 10 years and the freedom to source capital worldwide. Foreign companies that have already won MSC status include Sun, Oracle, Intel and Fujitsu.
The Multimedia Super Corridor is a 750 square kilometre zone intended to act as a test bed for a variety of leading-edge multimedia applications such as electronic government, smart education, and research into multimedia technologies and broadband networking.
The MSC stretches south from the national capital Kuala Lumpur to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport, whose recent opening was marred, funnily enough, by glitches in its computer systems which threw passenger and baggage operations into chaos.