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MBSA plans ‘silicon valley’ in Selangor’s Golden Triangle

Source from: New Straits Times, Original Article


The Golden Triangle of Selangor (SGT) may transform into a global centre of technological innovation similar to Silicon Valley, a region in the South San Francisco Bay Area in the United States, attracting foreign direct investments.

The Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) new rezoning plan (MBSA Local Plan Draft 2035) outlines land use and development from the year 2021 to 2035.

Listed in the draft plan 2035 are proposed developments and townships surrounding six key cities in Selangor, including i-City SGT, a smart technology city.

The plan will widen the footprint for the RM10 billion i-City SGT, which will morph from a 72-acre ultrapolis development to a 1,766-acre economic zone within the state encompassing the neighbouring Section 4 and Section 7.

This development will characterise the catalytic status of i-City SGT as the growth area in Shah Alam.

i-City SGT has entrenched itself as a leading player in the Shah Alam property space with part of its successes attributed to the myriad connectivity options.

It now boasts of excellent infrastructure and connectivity such as highways and roads, which connect it to seaports and airports as well as keeping it within 30 minutes driving distance from the Klang Valley.

In addition to having a direct flyover connecting it to the Federal Highway, i-City SGT is also accessible via the Shah Alam Expressway, Lebuhraya Kemuning-Shah Alam, the upcoming West Coast Highway, New Klang Valley Expressway, Guthrie Corridor Expressway, Shah-Alam Puchong Highway, Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and the North-South Expressway Central Link.

The number of highways connecting i-City to the rest of urban Klang Valley attests to its strategic location at the heart of Selangor’s “golden triangle”.

Public transportation includes the Light Rail Transit 3 network from Bandar Utama to Klang, with a stop at i-City.

SGT’s own ‘silicon valley’ for locals to prosper

The proposed plan for the extended area, covering almost 1,700 acres of land in Section 4 and Section 7, includes establishing a light industrial zone in the western corridor, a commercial zone, technology zone, and an education zone in the eastern corridor comprising two institutions of higher learning, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and University of Selangor (UNISEL).

The immediate surrounding industrial area will be gazetted for commercial purposes for ICT-related developments, similar to Silicon Valley.

“You can expect land and property prices to increase in these areas in the coming years. Owners of commercial and industrial properties will benefit greatly from this plan by MBSA,” said a senior real estate consultant.

Jones Lang Wootton Malaysia deputy managing director Prem Kumar said developers are starting to buy land Shah Alam in anticipation of growth in the economic zone.

“A lot of developers are buying off the land as they see the potential and demand for residential and commercial in the future. Now, one may ask why they are buying when the market is in the doldrums, but what we have to bear in mind is that real estate is a mid-term to long-term play. They are buying now to reap the full potential later,” he told NST Property.

Kumar said the plan by the local authorities is that they are looking towards the future in tandem with urban growth and sustainability.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) will extend MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status to encourage the setting-up of MSC Status companies and/or start-ups in the commercial zone.

i-City SGT which started 15 years ago sits in the high-technology zone.

The development has consciously adopted technology in pushing the boundaries of its development and product offerings. Infusion of technology in i-City SGT is not static and continues to evolve as capabilities change over time.

“Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong (I-Berhad founder) has the foresight to create an intelligent city that has attracted local investors and foreign direct investments (FDIs). All the data centres that the developer has put in place in i-City years ago have placed them in a fairly superior position compared to others,” Kumar said.

i-City SGT, when fully completed, also in 2035, will indelibly change the landscape of Shah Alam with 24 tower blocks across 72 acres.

This will include five Grade-A office towers, two convention centers, three hotels, a regional shopping mall, a data center, and a theme park amongst others, crowned by the 78-story SGT Tower, an iconic landmark not only in Shah Alam but the state of Selangor.

Last year Menteri Besar of Selangor Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the rapid developments in i-City were capable of turning the state capital into a key pillar of the “golden triangle” by offering excellent economic opportunities.

Selangor is Malaysia’s economic powerhouse and most progressive and developed state, contributing almost 25 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product.

According to Amirudin, total investments in Selangor in 2018 were expected to breach the RM14 billion mark, the second highest in the past decade and double the RM7 billion target of the state government.

The enlarged i-City SGT will include UiTM and UNISEL in addition to an education hub, coupled with high-technology, medical, commercial, and recreational hubs, home to 30,000 knowledge workers.

“It will be an incubating ground to prepare young graduates/knowledge workers from UiTM and UNISEL for the growing digital economy. The local council will nurture small businesses by providing spaces to incubate young graduates and the growing communities.

“Students from UiTM and UNISEL will greatly benefit from these extended developments as there will be future job opportunities for them. If they have been living in Selangor, they can continue to do that by taking up engineering, information technology (IT), and IT-related jobs with local firms and multinational companies (MNCs) when they graduate,” the consultant said.

Silicon Valley is home to major software and internet companies. It is made notable by the number of technology companies that started and are headquartered there, including Apple, Alphabet/Google, Facebook, and Netflix.

It’s also home to Stanford University and several state university campuses. This academic presence has helped fuel a rich research-and-development synergy throughout the Valley.

Currently, Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest regions in the world.

It was reported that half the world’s tech billionaires live in Silicon Valley.

In May 2012, The New York Times reported that 14 per cent of households in Santa Clara County and neighboring San Mateo County earn more than $200,000 per year.

There years later, the Brookings Institution ranked San Jose third in the world in per-capita gross domestic product (GDP), behind Zurich, Switzerland, and Oslo, Norway.

By 2019, The Guardian reported, the region was posting $128,308 per capita in annual GDP, with an annual output of US$275 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The number of high-profile ventures born in Silicon Valley has made the region an attractive target for venture capitalist firms and investors too. Atari, Apple, and Oracle were founded in the 1970s, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, and Adobe in the 1980s, Google, Yahoo, and PayPal in the 1990s, and Facebook, Twitter, and Uber in the 2000s.

Creating high profile jobs in the capital city of Selangor

MBSA’s draft plan 2035 for SGT will provide enabling infrastructure to support the job of the new economy and to compete regionally or globally for high-quality jobs.

“The plan creates an ecosystem for citizens to be happier, healthier, and wealthier, and to be supported by ubiquitous digital infrastructure. The aim is to make Malaysia the heart of digital ASEAN. i-City SGT, on the other hand, is well-placed to be the heart of digital Shah Alam,” said the consultant.

“i-City SGT will provide all Malaysians with access to the capabilities, tools, and know-how to take the digital leap, which includes facilitating new digital skills training and future jobs matching, resulting in a future-ready workforce,” he said.

One of the earliest to operate in i-City is Invest Selangor Bhd with a 10-year presence there today.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris said recently that the i-City development has given a new benchmark to property development in Selangor, especially for those focusing on tech companies in the state.

“I think with all the elements that have been put in place, the infrastructure to support tech companies will be able to attract more players, especially tech-related to operate in i-City,” he said.

Hasan said i-City is an impressive development and he believes that the stakeholders are working very hard to fulfill the expectations of the future tenants.

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