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RM 200 million initiative for development of digital infrastructure on Langkawi Island

Image from PMO Malaysia Facebook page

On August 19, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched a RM 200 million (USD 47 million) initiative to catalyse the development of digital infrastructure for the island of Langkawi.

Langkawi island is the largest island in an archipelago of around 100 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30km off the mainland coast of north-western Malaysia.

Langkawi has been chosen as the pioneer site for the development of the smart city concept for the entire state of Kedah, with the ultimate objective being the development of digital economy for the state.  

The New Straits Times (NST) reported that the Langkawi Digital Initiative aims to boost the island’s 3G and 4G LTE[1] internet coverage, as part of a comprehensive plan to transform five areas - Smart Economy, Smart Tourism, Smart Community, Smart Environment & Smart Security.

The planned work includes upgrading of two submarine cables, the construction of 10 new telecommunications towers and the connection of 47 existing telecommunications towers, via 152 kilometers (km) of fiber cable throughout Langkawi.

NST also quoted Kedah Science, Innovation, Information Technology, Communications and High Tech Committee chairman, Datuk Sabrina Mohd Noor as saying that four 1Malaysia Internet Centre (Pusat Internet 1Malaysia or PI1M is an initiative to improve broadband access in rural and suburban areas. ) offering various services including digital centre, eRezeki and eUsahawan will be built, including in Pulau Tuba. eUsahawan is a digital entrepreneurship program aiming to help the public enhance business growth via online sales, while the eRezeki initiative, based on the concept of crowd-sourcing aims to connect low-income households to digital income opportunities.

Various applications will be developed under this programme, including Mycribbooking travel apps (part of Smart Community programme under Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), safety monitoring apps and Cashless School, a free moneyless school system.

[1]Long-Term Evolution is a 4G wireless broadband technology developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), an industry trade group, for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals.

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