News story

Greater UK-Malaysia collaboration in developing smart cities

MOU signed during Connected Cities trade mission’s visit to Malaysia.

Innovate UK / UKTI Connected Cities mission at Forest City development in Johor
Innovate UK / UKTI Connected Cities mission at Forest City development in Johor

The Malaysian and UK Governments are joining hands in making urbanisation manageable and, most importantly, sustainable for the future. Smart technologies will be essential to achieving this. Both countries have taken a number of positive steps in their rapidly developing relationship around smart cities, to help position each other as a leader in the provision of innovative solutions in Europe and South East Asia respectively.

Through our joint Newton-Ungku Omar Coordination Fund, Innovate UK, Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) have come together to fund and deliver a new type of programme, called Research and Innovation Bridges.

We opened this funding competition in June 2015, jointly investing up to £14.4 million in collaborative research and development projects to stimulate innovation in response to Malaysia’s urbanisation challenges. The competition has been popular, with approximately 70 applications. All partners hope to fund a range of exciting collaborations between Malaysian and UK businesses and research organisations, proposing novel solutions to help Malaysia achieve its ambitious smart city aspirations.

Malaysia also hosted a hugely successful Connected Cities Trade Mission from the UK in March 2016. This is the third Connected Cities delegation from the UK to visit Malaysia since 2012, reinforcing the UK’s ongoing commitment to developing closer links with Malaysia in this critical field. The mission was strongly endorsed by the UK government.

The Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed said:

We are driving forward a wide range of innovative smart cities projects, including in Cyberjaya and Iskandar Malaysia. Our support for the UK Connected Cities trade mission will help to generate mutually beneficial business partnerships, to attract investments, as well as create a platform for sharing best practice. This contributes towards the achievement of Malaysia’s goal of becoming an advanced economy.

The mission, jointly organised by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) saw 10 of the UK’s most exciting companies showcase some of the best of what the UK has to offer in the smart cities technology field. The UK delegates showcased their diverse range of smart city solutions, developed to improve the way we live and work in cities. These ranged from intelligent street lighting, to integrated transport ticketing, intelligent building monitoring systems and citizen-driven decision-making technologies.

The delegation met with Malaysian government representatives and companies in Cyberjaya and Iskandar Malaysia in order to form lucrative business partnerships in Malaysia’s rapidly developing Smart Cities sector, ultimately helping Malaysia achieve its exciting connected cities ambitions.

During his presentation at Cyberjaya, Datuk Nik A Faizul Bin Abd. Mallek, Managing Director, MIGHT Technology Nurturing (MTN) said,

To ensure a high success in the delivery of sustainable cities, the bridging of market, technology and funding is critical. We have an important role in establishing future city needs through a five-year Capital Expenditure Plan. This plan will induce partnerships for the city and new markets for the private sectors to invest.

In recognition of the rapidly developing links between Malaysia and the UK in the smart cities field, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between UKTI and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) reinforcing both Governments’ joint commitment to further smart cities development in Iskandar, the booming economic development corridor in Johor, Malaysia.

The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO, said:

The UK is at the forefront of thinking on smart cities. We are dedicated to making urbanisation manageable and, most importantly, sustainable for the future. Smart technologies will be essential to achieving this. We look for opportunities to work collaboratively with likeminded partners such as Malaysia who share this vision.

Local partners such as the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), Cyberview and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MAGIC) have been instrumental in helping us realise opportunities together.

Our Malaysian partners were first class in supporting UK businesses during our recent Connected Cities Trade Mission.

I am not surprised that the British companies were impressed by what they saw and their feedback has been universally positive.

Indeed these UK businesses are now actively seeking to develop partnerships in Malaysia to deliver a range of innovative solutions here. These collaborations will help secure Malaysia’s position as a leader in the provision and delivery of smart cities solutions in South East Asia.

Indeed, a number of British companies have already established a presence in Cyberjaya, including Cerberus Advisory, Prudential Services, Miles 33 and NH Support Services, and others will follow.

The UK Government estimates that the number of people living in urban environments will have doubled to 7 billion by the year 2050. At the same time the way that cities work is changing, driven by rapid developments in software, hardware and telecom networks. Market opportunity is expected to rise from the current estimate of £280 billion to £1 trillion by 2020, due to the vast increase in the need for a wide range of city based services.

Published 12 April 2016