Malaysia Smart City, what and how?

Twin tower KL


Smart Cities Malaysia by Privacy Shield Framework mentioned that it is an important initiative that incorporates various leading industry sectors (e.g. ICT, GreenTech, Smart Grid, Transportation, Infrastructure) and touches on key policy issues (e.g. 5G, cybersecurity, renewable energy) currently being discussed in the private and public sectors.

The 3 main pillars of Smart Cities are:

Smart & Sustainable  Solutions

  • Clean environment
  • Environmental protection
  • Green development
  • Green infrastructure
  • Green economy

Smart Planning

  • Economic growth and value creation
  • Innovative economic growth
  • Equitable wealth distribution
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Public participation
  • Efficient public and social services
  • Private public partnership
  • Transparent governance

Smart Infrastucture & Technologies

  • Efficient road accessibility
  • Efficient public transportation
  • Non motorized accessibility
  • Availability of ICT infrastructure
  • Economic growth and value creation
  • Innovative economic growth
  • Equitable wealth distribution
  • Entrepreneurship

While the concept of a Smart City is fundamentally related to technology, according to KPKT, the outcomes it achieves can alleviate urban challenges and lead to more sustainable and liveable places.

History of Smart Cities

The 1st Generation > Technology

The concept of smart cities began as far back as the 1960s and 1970s when the US Community Analysis Bureau began using databases, aerial photography and cluster analysis to collect data, direct resources and issue reports in order to direct services, mitigate against disasters and reduce poverty. This led to the first generation of smart cities.

The 2nd Generation > Technology + Innovation

The first generation of smart city was delivered by technology providers to “understand” the implications of technology on daily life. Then, this led to the second generation of smart city, which looked at how smart technologies and other innovations could create joined-up municipal solutions.

working on laptop
Malaysian cities are developing responses to urban needs and challenges.

The 3rd Generation > Public and social inclusion

The third generation of smart city took the control away from technology providers and city leaders, instead creating a model that involved the public and introduce social inclusion and community engagement.

This third generation model was adopted by Vienna, who created a partnership with the local Wien Energy company, allowing citizens to invest in local solar plants as well as working with the public to resolve gender equality and affordable housing issues. Such adoption has continued around the world, including in Vancouver, where 30,000 citizens co-created the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

How Smart Cities work?

Smart cities follow 4 steps with the aims to improve the quality of life and enable economic growth through a network of connected IoT devices and other technologies.

These 4 steps are as follows:

1. Collection – Smart sensors gather real-time data

2. Analysis – The data is analysed to gain insights into the operation of city services and operations

3. Communication – The results of the data analysis are communicated to decision makers

4. Action – Action is taken to improve operations, manage assets and improve the quality of city life for the residents

There are a range of Smart City models, actors and technologies andevery city customises these to their unique needs.

Malaysia Smart City Framework (MSCF)

From MyGOV, there is a framework which is Malaysia Smart City Framework (MSCF) that serves as a guide and reference to Local Authorities as city manager, state governments, federal ministries and departments, industry players, academician and other stakeholders in planning and developing smart cities in Malaysia holistically and in line with the current developments.

The document includes the smart city definition in the context of Malaysia, 7 key components of smart city, policy directions and outlines the proposed strategies and initiatives for each component that can be  a reference to those interested in implementing smart city initiatives in Malaysia.

Definitions and Components of Smart City

In the Malaysian context, smart city is defined as a city that uses ICT and technology and innovation advances to address urban issues including to improve the quality of life, promote economic growth, develop sustainable and safe environment and encourage efficient urban management practices.

Smart city Malaysia aims at addressing urban issues and challenges towards achieving then three main pillars of competitive economy, sustainable environment and enhanced quality of life.

The 7 major components of smart city Malaysia are:

  1. Smart Economy
  2. Smart Living
  3. Smart Environment
  4. Smart People
  5. Smart Government
  6. Smart Mobility; and
  7. Smart Digital Infrastructure

What is the Way Forward in Malaysia?

Smart cities is the new development trend observed in many countries around the world, and of course in Malaysia. Some cities that are active in implementing smart city strategies include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Seoul, Stockholm, Singapore, Phuket and Jakarta. Therefore, the development of smart cities in a planned, integrated and holistic manner in this country is important to ensure that Malaysia is at par with the global urban development trends.

Smart cities Malaysia

The smart city trend is supported by the technological breakthrough of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), including the use of Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Open Data and Big Data Analytics.

This digitalization trend is evolving fast and will have a huge impact on the global economy and change the way of life of the world at large. Thus, Malaysia needs to be ready to welcome this wave of digital revolution and utilise it to overcome the challenges and physical limitations towards improving the quality of life of the people and ensuring the development of a smart and sustainable nation.

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