New UK-Malaysia Partnership Set To Drive Smart Cities Development

Smart cities companies from the UK and Malaysia are forming strategic partnerships to provide smart cities solutions for the Malaysian and global markets. A new partnership was announced today, in conjunction with the Virtual UK Smart Cities Mission to Malaysia. Consisting of 40 leading UK companies, this was the first UK smart cities delegation ever to visit Malaysia virtually.

The strategic partnership was formed by Interactive Coventry Ltd (UK) and Metrobinaya Sdn Bhd (Malaysia), with key stakeholders Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai (Malaysia) and SME Corporation Malaysia. The partnership will deliver a revolutionary smart cities solution for forecasting and managing flash urban flooding in Malaysia. 

Interactive Coventry Ltd deploys bespoke, cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to reduce the complexity and overhead cost for processing extremely large data, while collaboratively future proof the technology in the partner’s Metaverse. This approach enables successful urbanization during climate change while emphasizing a win-win solution for all parties. 

The Virtual UK Smart Cities Mission, which concluded today, was organised by the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) in collaboration with several key Malaysian ministries. The primary aim was to strengthen collaborations between both countries to drive smart cities growth in housing & local government, communications & multimedia as well as sustainable transportation.

The mission comprised 40 UK smart cities technology providers, offering a range of solutions from Smart Economy to Smart Living, Smart Environment, Smart People, Smart Government, Smart Mobility, and Smart Digital Infrastructure. A range of well-attended sessions showcased the latest UK smart city technologies and the successful implementation of smart cities solutions in cities across the UK.

Three Malaysian Ministers graced the three-day event, each delivering keynote remarks:

On Day 1, YB Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican, Minister of Housing and Local Government highlighted, “At the top of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government’s agenda is to promote the philosophy of ‘Liveable Malaysia’ in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan. ‘Liveable Malaysia’ emphasizes on ensuring that the rakyat’s wellbeing is safeguarded and defended within the purview of our ministry. Among the key focus of ‘Liveable Malaysia’ is mainstreaming digitalization in the service delivery of local authorities as well as adopting advanced technology in the development of cities within the Malaysia Smart City Framework.”

On Day 2, YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Annuar Haji Musa, Minister of Communications and Multimedia said, Smart cities have been identified as a focus area in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, with an initiative in place to introduce an enhanced mechanism to accelerate its rollout. The aim is to enhance partnerships between cities, industries and technology partners in the development of smart cities.”

On Day 3, YB Dr Wee Ka Siong, Minister of Transport shared his vision that, “Smart cities require transport as an integral element under the initiative. In line with the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept, the public would be able to optimise their travel using real time journey planner that integrates all transport modes. There is also a need for land public transportation systems to adopt and embrace the key components of the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR.40) namely AI, automation, internet of things, Big Data Analytic, and cloud computing to achieve high efficiency and quality of services, homogeneities of services, and robust safety standards. In turn, transport operators and transport related providers would require big data to plan and enhance their services. In the future, traffic would also be managed better via intelligent Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communications. Smart land public transportation system will have huge roles to play to support the country’s sustainable growth and development especially in the next 5 to 10 years, when the country economically and socially recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

H.E Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia is confident of the UK smart cities offering and bullish about the potential for more partnerships. He said, “Smart cities development and technology is a new growth area in UK-Malaysia bilateral trade. The UK offers world-class expertise and technology in smart cities development. Through the Virtual UK Smart Cities Mission, we want to turn the enthusiasm from governments and businesses into real opportunities for both countries to collaborate in smart cities development”

Several other prominent UK figures also gave welcome remarks, including Richard Graham MP, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Malaysia, and Natalie Black CBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific.

Prior to the Smart Cities Mission, the UK’s West Midlands Combined Authority and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share knowledge, ideas, and lessons learned from within the urban and transport planning realms. This is another example of how the UK and Malaysia can collaborate and take the relationship forward in the smart cities era. Through the Global Future Cities Programme, the UK is also supporting Iskandar Malaysia and Melaka to develop smart and sustainable mobility systems.

The virtual mission was attended by more than 600 participants representing the government and private sectors from both Malaysia and the UK. This unprecedented high level of interest will pave the way for more UK-Malaysia partnerships in smart cities development.  

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