Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shah Alam set to be most liveable knowledge city

MOST city dwellers yearn to live and work in a city free from traffic jams and pollution with plenty of job opportunities, where the cost of living is low and lots of greenery.

In Malaysia, Ipoh would appeal to many retirees as property prices there are relatively cheaper with cost of living lower while Penang has retained some of its old world charm although the island is getting very congested.

However, for those wishing to be part of the K-economy in the country and where they may stand a better chance of finding jobs and still live in a fairly peaceful and green city, Shah Alam is the preferred city to live and work as many people are rather tired of the traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya.

Just as Melbourne was once voted the “most liveable city” in the world, Shah Alam may in the near future be known as the “most liveable knowledge city” in Malaysia.

Shah Alam is still relatively peaceful with few high-rise buildings with plenty of greenery. However, the lack of entertainment like cinemas and shopping centres has given the city a laid-back image.

A recent market survey by Research Inc Asia showed that most Shah Alam residents would like to see their shops and restaurants open for longer houses as well as larger shopping centres and new cinemas.

The survey also noted that: “Shah Alam could potentially have 69% of its residents spending more time in their home city, if more leisure opportunities were available”.

A model of the RM2bil i-City development in Section 7, Shah Alam, Selangor.
Hence - the initiative by I-Bhd to develop the RM2bil i-City in Section 7, Shah Alam - is seen as an ambitious move but one that could help turn Shah Alam into a knowledge city.

The importance of this development can be seen from a recent study mission led by Shah Alam mayor Mazalan Mohd Noor to Shanghai to see what makes that city tick that might also help to shape the proposed Shah Alam ICT (information and communications technology) Zone where the freehold 72-acre i-City would be located.

The mayor also saw how China has managed to develop successful models in handling foreign direct investments within its socio-cultural context and this could also be adapted to suit Shah Alam.

Mazalan had said the Shanghai mission was also to source for possible ICT investments to Shah Alam from China.

“We are not just focusing on ICT investors from the west, we are also looking at China and the rest of Asia, as the ICT sector has become global. We want to make Shah Alam the Bangalore of Malaysia,” he added.

Bangalore is today one of Asia's fastest growing cosmopolitan city and is regarded as India's “Silicon Valley” boasting many scientific and research and development facilities.

Besides creating jobs for 50,000 knowledge workers, the ICT Zone will enable a transfer of skill sets and there will be increased economic activities for Shah Alam.

The value of properties will be enhanced and the Selangor state government and the Shah Alam City Council will also gain in terms of higher revenue.

There will also be an international stature for Shah Alam and Selangor will be able to maintain its position as the leading investment location in the country.

According to I-Bhd feedback from a group of investment bankers who were instrumental in linking i-City with foreign investors was that the proposed Shah Alam ICT Zone was in line with the requirements of these investors.

“We have accelerated i-City's development from the original 10-year period to within five years as suggested by Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

“We cannot rely on the local market demand for ICT offices rather we have to market i-City as a global office address to the international ICT community,” the company added.

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