Microsoft is building a data centre in the Kulai district of Johor, with construction “40 per cent complete” according to state government claims.
Costing approximately 5-6 billion Malaysian Ringgit to build, the facility is believed to be located in Sedenak, 300km south of Kuala Lumpur and close to the Singaporean border.
As outlined by current Menteri Besar of Johor, Hasni Mohammad, the development is designed to stimulate the economic sector through providing new job opportunities in a state currently forecasting unemployment of more than 173,000 people.
“The construction of the data centre not only brings in specific investments, but it will also provide ample job opportunities,” said Mohammad, as reported by Bernama. “It will also attract Microsoft network companies to come to Johor to invest here, that is the advantage of developing the data centre.”
Delving deeper, and according to The Star, such investment will also “pave the way” for the state to attract other technology giants to the area, echoing recent comments made by prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Microsoft investment in Johor will pave the way for the state to attract major technology-based companies,” Mohammad added. “It will play a huge role in helping the state government’s digitisation program and benefit the people by providing faster internet connectivity and help simplify day-to-day activities.”
The announcement comes less than a week after the government claimed that Microsoft, Amazon and Google have shown interest in developing regional technology hubs in Malaysia.
“I think many have shown their interest in helping Malaysia,” said the prime minister, when addressing civil servants during a town hall meeting in Johor. “Recently the leaders of Microsoft, Amazon and Google met with me expressing their readiness to be involved in the process of developing Malaysia in the IT and other fields to make Malaysia a regional centre.
“But first, to make sure, does our country have the best connectivity? The main issue usually raised is lack of access. Our internet is not efficient.”
In addition to Microsoft, a “Japanese technology company” is also believed to be interested in building a data centre in Johor.
A likely candidate could perhaps be NTT, who is powering ahead with plans to expand data centre capabilities across Asia Pacific and the wider world, with enhancements in Malaysia and Indonesia now months away.
In Malaysia, NTT is currently constructing a fifth data centre at its Cyberjaya campus, located 30km away from the centre of Kuala Lumpur. The new Cyberjaya 5 facility will house 5.6 MW of "critical IT load" and will come online during the fourth quarter of 2020 with the aim of meeting the requirements of hyperscalers and high-end enterprise customers.
“Many parties have contacted the state government, that want to explore new sectors for investment, this is because Johor is unique and has many potentials to be developed,” added Dr Aman Rabu, health director of Johor. “The people will also at a later time be able to use the available internet fully and make Johor a state that succeeds in implementing the digitalisation program."