“Malaysia’s determination in building smart cities and becoming a digital nation is resolute.”

Getting to Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030: Equal Opportunities, Smart Cities

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By Hazmin Abdul Rahim, Director and Industry Business Architect (Public Sector), Malaysia, SAP

Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision & Smart City Framework

Malaysia recently launched its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (WKB2030), also known as the Twelfth Malaysian Plan.

This blueprint for Malaysia’s direction, from 2021 till 2030, is an effort to help the nation grow sustainably with wealth distribution that is fair and inclusive – encompassing each income group, across ethnic groups and regions. It takes into consideration hurdles faced by groups and individuals due to differences in economic background and the environment. The plan also aims to regain the trust of the market and investors. And propel Malaysia forward as a new Asian Tiger.

The unveiling of WKB2030 closely follows the launch of the Malaysia Smart City Framework developed by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT). This national reference for implementing smart city initiatives is comprehensive – cutting across all three tiers of government. It also entails guidelines for private sector participation.

Turning Malaysian cities into smart cities is one of the highlights in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan. The Malaysia Smart City Framework is the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure Malaysian cities are smart and sustainable – which will in turn equalize opportunities for all.

Smart city key components: A match to SAP Focus Areas

The thorough Smart City Framework articulates seven key components:

1. Smart Economy. This entails a highly productive and innovative economy that will attract investment.

2. Smart Living. This is about urban safety and security. As well as high quality of healthcare services.

3. Smart Environment. This involves high quality housing, environmental protection, sustainable resource management and disaster readiness.

4. Smart People. This is about low carbon sites and green lifestyles. It also includes talented human capital with high digital literacy and skillsets, and communities with good moral values.

5. Smart Government. This entails a government that is gender-friendly and responsive to vulnerable groups. It also is about open data and quality e-government services.

6. Smart Mobility. This involves inter-governmental data sharing, seamless and efficient connectivity, as well as integrated, safe and reliable roads and public transport

7. Smart Digital Infrastructure. This covers flexible and affordable modes of transport, comprehensive network coverage, widespread adoption of high-speed internet, and enhanced cybersecurity measures.

These components translate into 36 strategies and 112 initiatives.

Having built roadmaps to help governments realize citizen-centric smart city outcomes that can be deployed at scale, Malaysia’s announcement is exciting news. It’s especially encouraging to see that these components correspond to SAP’s Focus Areas for Smart City Initiatives (see Figure 1). Which means we can readily support these plans.


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Figure 1: SAP Focus Areas for Smart City Initiatives


As Malaysia recognizes, smart city initiatives rely not only on the expertise of the public sector, but also on private sector collaboration. By bringing together business leaders across industries – who are motivated to cooperate because smart city goals coincide with business objectives – smart city initiatives can break down silos and accelerate desired outcomes.

Fast-tracking smart city efforts: Learning from success

How else can Malaysia fast-track these efforts?

A colleague, Chee Lioy U suggests, and I agree: Take a down-to-earth approach and learn from success stories. Many countries and cities have laudable accomplishments. By finding and adapting from the right cases, governments can make significant progress even when it looks challenging – scale- and cost-wise.

An example. One key component in Malaysia’s Smart City Framework – Smart Environment – involves environmental protection and sustainable resource management. There are ready successful case studies, including this one which hail from the city of Karlsruhe, Germany.

Karlsruhe city partnered with a local energy provider to tackle the city’s environmental concerns. It decided to harness existing infrastructure: The city’s streetlamps. Being present everywhere and laid out in a regular structure grid, streetlamps are an ideal feature to add additional technological innovations. The collaboration resulted in Project “Sm!ght” – and smart lampposts that has environmental sensors which measure pollution levels. These lamps go above and beyond the original intention – to also offer free Wi-Fi, an emergency button, and a charging point for e-cars!

The lamps collect data, which is analyzed and disseminated to the city and its citizens. Radar sensors monitor traffic levels and provide alerts when e-car drivers approach a lamp with a charging station. Environmental data such as particulate matter emissions is also recorded by the lamps, allowing the city to take action to improve air quality.

Overcoming inherent obstacles: Quick wins

We cannot overemphasize the importance of quick wins in smart city implementations.

Many smart city plans come to a halt because they are overly ambitious. Some necessitate large amounts of resources that is too daunting to amass. Some require private sector collaboration when governments have little inroads into these networks. Some take too long to implement in the absence of robust execution strategies – which render original plans obsolete as the private sector moves to take over the delivery of a service.

Malaysia’s determination in building smart cities and becoming a digital nation is resolute. Hence, quick wins – which will gain citizens’ trust and provide motivation for the government to advance – is critical. But this is dependent on a government’s core technological and innovation capability. Not merely the addition of mobile apps.

As Malaysia works towards enabling this core capability, SAP is happy and dedicated to continue playing our part in this journey. #sayangimalaysiaku

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