The Multimedia Super Corridor

This material is excerpted from the paper Information Technology and Information Network for Strengthening Industrial Property Administration by Dato V.L. Kandan appearing in Intellectual Property in Asia & the Pacific No.54. July_September 1997. In future, we shall try to publish a detailed account on the MSC — a concept which has attracted world wide attention.

- Editor

The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is a designated zone measuring 15 by 40 kilometers which stretches from the Kuala Lumpur City Center (or the KLCC) in the north to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang in the south.

The MSC is separheaded by Putrajaya, the future Federal Administrative Center and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Both are currently under construction and will be installed with state-of-the art communication and IT infrastructure.

Putrajaya will serve as a catalyst to this transformation. One of the goals during the currency of the Seventh Plan is to subject all government ministries and agencies to the adoption of IT. Examples enumerated in the Plan include the client/server technology, computer networks and image processing.

Their adoption will respectively improve efficiency, connectivity, resource and information sharing as well as expediting document handling and verification. As a consequence, the administration of industrial property will be fortified by trailing the paths of these developments.

The MSC is designed to be a comprehensive strategic plan with the ultimate objective of converting the old system of administration and communication to the most updated and advanced IT system. This is mammoth project undertaken by Malaysia as its IT industry is still a relatively young one. As the country's use of IT will concentrate predominantly on the MSC, it is a testing ground for a nationwide implemntation of multimedia technologies.

The MSC will definitely bolster the IT industry in Malaysia and aims at increasing the effectiveness of multimedia in the role of administration as well as creating supply and demand for the Malaysian multimedia industry on a global scale. The infrastructure which is essential to accommodate the so-called information superhighway consists of fibre optics, satellite and wireless technology.

To date, Malaysia has launched two of its own satellites, MEASAT I and II. It has also invested RM 20.3 billion and will further allocate approximately RM 25.4 billion in the execution of the MSC and related projects.

The long term outcome of these efforts is to transform Malaysia into an IT hub so as to attract international companies to set up their regional headquarters in the country and establish a global network of manufacturing and management activities. This will enhance the commercial viability of Malaysia and indirectly boost the development of industrial property.

The MSC encap-sulates seven "Flagship Applications". The more important aspect lies in the Multimedia Development Flagship Applications consisting of the Electronic Government, The Multi-Purpose Card, Smart Schools and Telemedicine. The remaining three are under the Multimedia Environment Flagship Application. They are the R&D Cluster, the Worldwide Manufacturing Webs and Borderlines Marketing.

Assigned to each Flagship Application is the development of a "Concept Request For Proposals" (CREPs) which describes the requirements of identified pilot applications. These give considerable leeway to private companies in submitting innovative solutions to the various projects undertaken. The CRFPs will attract leading multimedia companies and encourage collaboration and technology transfer. Focus will be directed at the four Multimedia Development Flagship Applications as they set the foundation to the MSC project.

The Electronic Government is integral to the construction of Putrajaya. The key emphasis is on connectivity and this entails the use of multimedia to create greater accessibility and better communication on an inter-governmental level. The pilot applications include the licensing and related vehicle services and utility payment, electronic procurement, the Prime Minister's Office - Generic office environment, human resource management information systems and project monitoring system.

Enhancing productivity in the public sector is a primary goal and it is believed that there will be a roll-on effect on the productivity in the private sector. This will in turn promote the progress of industrial property through a vibrant economy and an effective administration.

Once the Electronic Government is in place with the fundamental structure installed, it is only imminent that the patents, trade mark and industrial design registries echo this development. The advantages to be reaped from such an advanced electronic system are manifold. The compilation of databases will provide the necessary and complete information relating to patents, trade marks or designs at a push of a button, metaphorically speaking.

The multi-purpose card is another significant project that integrates the microchip technology into the daily transactions with both the government and private agencies. The pilot applications will initially be divided into the chip application and the access key application. The former application subdivides into the government related card which deals with national identification, driving license, immigration and others while the payment card handles electronic cash. In time, both will be combined into one.

It remains to be seen how the creation of such a card system serves its purpose in industrial property development but one can foresee the use of a card or a simple mechanism to effect applications and register information in the future.

The Smart Schools are aimed, among others, at producing a thinking workforce that is technologically literate. This will definitely be a positive move towards human resource development and more specifically, the generation of IT- skilled and intelligent personnel to serve the expanding area of industrial property. The government has projected an initial number of 90 smart schools, 4 in the capital and 86 nationwide. A full conversion of the present schools into the smart system is estimated to take a total of 2 years.

The Telemedicine on the other hand attempts to create a nation of healthy citizens by providing better access to medical facilities and advice and inculcating a sense of personal responsibility towards one's health.

The current Registries are already located within the MSC radius and it is only imminent that they reap the benefits of the latest IT development although plans revamping the Registries to incorporate the IT technology have yet to materialize.

Among the steps taken by the Government in ensuring the smooth progress of the MSC is the introduction of the Malaysian Cyberlaws, which have been mentioned earlier. To reiterate, they consist of the Computer Crimes Act, the Digital Signature Act and the Telemedicine Act. The Copyright Act has also been amended to confer protection on the IT related rights.