Zuraida: Malaysia ready for smart cities in five years

Azril Annuar
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin is pictured at the 2019 Smart Cities Asia Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur September 11, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — It will be another five years before most of the country is ready for the “smart city” concept, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said today.

Speaking to reporters after launching the 2019 Smart Cities Asia Annual Conference and Exhibition, the minister said that the concept is currently being developed for the elite and high-income group instead of the masses.

At the same time, she said that before it can be introduced to some of Malaysia’s more rural townships and B40 communities, residents there must be educated to ensure that they will take care of the high-technology facilities and gadgets provided for them.

“The masses must be ready, if not there will be vandalism and it will be a waste of money.

“The local authorities must make sure they are ready but most of them will start with the buildings, which are easier to control,” said Zuraida, referring to the community.

When asked how she plans on educating these groups, she said that she believes once coverage becomes wider in Malaysia — especially in Kuala Lumpur and state capitals — and the public are exposed to it, taking care of the high-tech equipment will become natural.

She believes that the younger generation, especially those who are becoming more and more tech-savvy will have good habits inculcated into them as they will be more exposed to use of the gadgets.

“We should be ready in about another five years with widespread awareness and the younger generations with their phones, they would be more exposed to use these gadgets,” she said.

Zuraida also said that smart city developers must work together with local authorities to fine tune its development in Malaysia to ensure a holistic development with long term strategic planning, instead of creating a piece-meal solution.

She pointed out that a piece-meal development will incur more costs in the long run and is wasteful and less efficient.

The federal minister also said that by working holistically with local councils, developers can help create more awareness and educate the local communities on smart cities and how they can take care of its facilities.

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