- Cyberjaya celebrates its 20th birthday this month. Cyberjaya started in May 1996 where the promise, aspiration and hopes of many generation X like Ritz and I. We were the early believers in a new way forward for the nation’s ICT through the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). It was the same year that Phd candidates Page and Brin began Google as research project at Stanford. Albeit thousand miles apart, the similitude of it is in the dawn of new creations. Being US graduates ourselves, we had no prejudice on technology initiatives, and not doubting in Malaysia’s ability to grow with ICT.
- Just before the turn of the millennium, we began our work-life, got married and commuted to Cyberjaya. We loved our new jobs but having the thought of daily commute from Bandar Utama to Cyberjaya was both time-consuming and increasingly costly by the year. Then LDP was the direct motorway into Cyberjaya. Every month, the LDP takes in more and more traffic and the odds of us having spent on average 2 hours a day on the road – was not the chore we wanted.
- In 2001, we moved our small family of three to Cyberjaya, adopting the city very early as we progress into our careers. Plus, we embraced the triple bottom line variant, the theme idea of Cyberjaya’s – Live, Work, Play. Then the town was small, peaceful community with welcoming diversity and growing melting pot of talents.
- From three, our family grew to a family of five and from living in an apartment, we moved to a house in Cyberjaya, seven years later. Despite many challenges bringing up a family here we truly enjoyed Cyberjaya, its open spaces, its adorning trees, its fast track development, amidst the backdrop of Putrajaya. Having close proximity to work, with near zero traffic, we were able to enjoy home-cooked food, and cherished time with the children.
- However, things did not happen magically, here in Cyberjaya. Patience, persistence and effort got us and the community, the long waited public amenities. It was always the case of chicken-and-egg. For example, for many years, we went to the Cyberjaya Bomba’s makeshift mosques to pray and perform the Qurban. The Cyberjaya Bomba staff and household has been a great pacifier to the community. The long awaited Cyberjaya Raja Haji Fisabilillah mosque only existed 2 years ago and despite a daytime estimated population of 70,000, we deathly have no hospital nor a Klinik Kesihatan yet within the vicinity. Despite Cyberjaya having the label of TwinCity (to Putrajaya), residence then were not cordially welcomed at the government clinics in Putrajaya. We were sent off to Klinik Kesihatan in Dengkil, to receive medical attention. Even to the point of wonder, if a child is born from a Cyberjaya dweller, when will it be that Cyberjaya be recognise as his/her birthplace. Nonetheless, Klinik Gomez was the first clinic to open its doors to medical care and still operates to this day in Cyberjaya, we are happy patients to Dr Vasuki. Now, there are a few places where the community can get medical attention.
- Indeed, good things take time to happen – take Silicon Valley for example, it benefited from the talent pool of great minds across the globe, with universities like the Stanford, UC Berkeley, SFU, San Jose University and others played host, incubation and nurturing of these free-spirited creators. These universities were built in late 1800s and have produced great talents to whom were scientists, technologist, innovators and business owners, over decades. In comparison Cyberjaya, there is the Multimedia University (MMU) that started operation in 1999, followed by Lim Kok Wing in 2003, Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences in 2005 and Universiti Islam Malaysia in 2015. Great minds like Prof Ghauth Jasmon, the first president of MMU did a fantastic job to get the early days at university off the ground and brought in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into young minds. It’s the talented undergraduate students of MMU who gave birth to Upin Ipin in 2005 and BoboiBoy in 2009. Creativity is our strength. The (late Tan Sri) Othman Yeop Abdullah had strong caring for Cyberjaya to “be green, low rise and campus atmosphere” alongside then stewardship of Dato’ Karim Abu Bakar of Setiaharuman.
- Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are children of settlers of the ‘Silicon Valley’, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google are children to academicians who grew up in an environment that embraces technology and promotes creativity. To date, 60-80% of the revenue from Microsoft, Apple and Google are from out of the US. Tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon are in Seattle and not Silicon Valley. These areas are the magnet for great technological minds that serve the world.
- It is a tall order to bring the best minds within a small nation like Malaysia. Most tech multinational companies that exist in Malaysia are sales outfits and they do not do real R&D in Malaysia. There were not many job opportunities for engineers and techies in the early days of MSC, and many ended up working in sales and marketing or custom-development arm of these tech company. Credit is also due to two other gentlemen that help brought masses to Cyberjaya – Benjamin Ong of Prima Group and Micheal Ong of Quill Group Bhd – as well as the F&B life into the city. To this day, their buildings and their eateries are fully catered.
- I had the privilege to work as a software engineer at Intel MSC and work with talented pool of engineers. I also had the opportunity to work with young companies and software developers and talent was definitely what we lack of. But perhaps experience, confidence, perseverance, business acumens and the list goes on. There were many innovation created that Malaysia was not ready for back then.
- As for both of us, we decided to put our money where our mouth is. We live, work and play here happily. Over the years, we see more and more young couples, families and friends move to Cyberjaya. Things are changing. We are happy and blessed to have great neighbours and living in a peaceful city. Things do get better and we applaud Cyberview for making great efforts to make Cyberjaya liveable. We are happy to see that there are more activities for children who want to take up coding, varied learnings and of late multiple sporting activities for the community within and outside Cyberjaya to participate. Without its people, its location and activities, the aspirations and dreams are just marketing buzzwords.
- That aside, we hope Cyberjaya becomes truly the entrepreneurial hub and living technology location that brings more technologist, great talents, innovators and business owners. Even though we no longer work in tech-space, we will continue to grow our small ventures from Cyberjaya – living, working and playing here.
- We expect Cyberjaya to continue to be the change, model and contributor to Malaysia’s future for years to come. Let’s continue to make Cyberjaya a Malaysian dream.
Ritz & Eliza
Resident of Cyberjaya