After living and working in Cyberjaya for almost 5 years and meeting so many people, here are the 10 dumbest things people still think about Cyberjaya.
When Cyberjaya was founded in 1997, I was a still a student back then. I still remember a newspaper advertisement portraying the grand vision of Cyberjaya as the city of the future. Many things have changed over the past 21 years. I may be bias but the city is truly one of the most livable cities in Malaysia. Meanwhile, I still bump into people who are still stuck with the old mindset of what Cyberjaya used to be.
1. Cyberjaya is so far
If you think about 10 to 15 years ago, Cyberjaya was “far” from everything else. Relatively speaking, what is Cyberjaya far away from nowadays? Using the MEX highway, I can get to IKEA Cheras in KL within 30 minutes on a regular traffic condition. The airport is less than 25 minutes away. After the completion of the new MEX II which is currently being built, it will take less than 20 minutes to get to KLIA.
2. Cyberjaya is growing very slowly
Cyberjaya is not like Puchong, Subang, Kota Damansara or any township around the Klang Valley. It’s not designed to grow “very rapidly”. The development projects here are highly regulated by the local authorities. In the original master plan of Cyberjaya, it’s explicitly stated that at least 40% of the 7,000 acres land is dedicated for open spaces. It will not be congested like any other towns or cities around Malaysia.
It’s a city built for the next 50 years not for today. Having said that, D’Pulze Shopping Centre has exceeded 100% occupancy rate while the beautiful Tamarind Square is attracting new retailers such as Village Grocer, 24-hours Book Xcess and fancy cafes. A new UK-based international school called King Henry VIII has just opened its doors this month with a handful of teachers from the UK, US and Australia moving into Cyberjaya.
3. Cyberjaya is a ghost town
Again, this is a very subjective statement. Cyberjaya is becoming one of the most livable cities in Malaysia with access to various schools, hospital (by 2020), MRT (ready by 2022), shopping centres, universities and more. Putrajaya is just right next door which makes it accessible to other beautiful parks and botanical gardens nearby.
Crime rate is reported to be the lowest in the country and regular patrols and road blocks are being conducted by the police. If it feels like a ghost town to some people that’s because the city is designed this way. It should make you feel calm as the city’s roads are dispersing traffic to all different directions which ultimately makes it feel less busy.
4. Cyberjaya is just where the call centres are
While that may be true many years ago, Cyberjaya is now home to many technology companies from around the world. Through the establishment of MDEC, MaGIC, Cyberview and Futurise, local and global companies have setup their research labs in Cyberjaya. There’s now a robotics lab, driverless cars research lab and VR lab being setup at Futurise Centre.
Do you know that there’s a stem cell bank located at the Bio-X building in Cyberjaya? I bet you don’t. Japan’s leading animation company OLM, Inc. has its first overseas branch in Cyberjaya producing Pokemon TV series.
Not all global companies want to shout out to the world that they’re in Cyberjaya. If you look hard enough, there are close to 50 multinational companies that are based here.
5. There’s no smartness in Cyberjaya
If you don’t feel the smartness that means you’re not looking for it. The Nadi Putra bus service is bad and people are still complaining about it, but most commuters can commute within Cyberjaya quite easily and efficiently using Grab, EEVOM and MyCar.
Before the smart traffic light was installed along Persiaran Multimedia, it used to take 30 minutes to get from Shaftsbury Square to MMU. Today, it’s less than 12 minutes. It’s very costly to make all traffic lights smart in Cyberjaya so hang in there as the authorities are working on it.
Some other smart city technologies available in Cyberjaya are the oBike bike sharing, e-scooter (coming soon), smart parking (JomParking, Smart Selangor, ParkEasy), SOCAR and GoCar, NOMO powerbank sharing, real-time air quality sensors, city dashboard (shown above), automated parcel collection PopBox, mobile payment (Boost, FavePay, TnGo) and the list is growing.
6. There’s nothing to do in Cyberjaya
We bet you don’t know that you can now play paint ball in Cyberjaya besides the usual stuff of visiting the parks, new Cyberjaya mosque, car boot sale, Cyberjaya Farmers’ Market, 24-hours book store, shopping centres, public swimming pool at MMU. There are more than 6 pubs or bars for those who wish to go for a drink after work. Check out the video put together by Setia Haruman:
7. Cyberjaya is a property players playground
One of the reasons why property players are here is because people wanted to live and work in Cyberjaya. That’s when all the different developers started to come in. However, one of the mistakes made by the property players especially investors is expecting fast return on their investments. Cyberjaya is not a city of today, it’s a city of the future. If they’re only aiming to make money on short term, they’ll be very disappointed.
8. It’s hard to get to Cyberjaya
It’s true that there’s no direct public bus service from KL to Cyberjaya but there are many other options to get to Cyberjaya ? Cyberjaya is connected by major highways namely MEX, ELITE and LDP. You can take the KLIA Transit train from KL Sentral that takes you to Putrajaya & Cyberjaya station in under 20 minutes. There’s now a promo with Grab that bundles your travel cost when you take the KLIA transit train.
Planning to get a job in Cyberjaya but hate to drive? Consider using the Cyberjaya DTS which operates 24 hours a day with more than 7 pick-up locations around the Klang Valley.
9. It’s expensive to live in Cyberjaya
In general, it’s relatively expensive to live anywhere within Klang Valley but Cyberjaya offers a quality of life that can’t be found anywhere else. Groceries too costly? Drive to Pasar Borong in Seri Kembangan. There are huge parks everywhere you don’t need to sign up for any gym membership.
People who are hired by multinational companies in Cyberjaya are paid better as well. Those who live and work in Cyberjaya spend less than 10 minutes to get to their offices. That’s really something that money can’t buy.
10. Cyberjaya to be the Silicon Valley of Asia
The earlier aspiration may be true but the government no longer wants Cyberjaya to be another Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has an extremely unique ecosystem therefore it’s not possible to replicate it elsewhere. Instead, the government which is spearheaded by Cyberview is working on to develop Cyberjaya as a Global Technology Hub. Recently, two of Cyberjaya-based accelerator programs have been nominated as country finalist for the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards as the region’s best accelerator program.
I have to admit that some of the negative perceptions about Cyberjaya in the past came up due to past initiatives that were not properly executed. The authorities are learning and as far as I know, it’s heading into the right direction.
When I saw the article posted by IDEAS on Cyberjaya: Malaysia’s Promised Silicon Valley A Central Plan, which Failed, I laughed because it was written by someone who sat comfortably on his chair, Googled all the outdated information and published it online.
It’s not easy to build a city from scratch. Just like a tech startup, it takes a lot of effort and experimentation to build the right product for the market. That’s what Cyberjaya is – a city in progress.
If your last visit to Cyberjaya was more than 10 years ago, I would recommend that you visit Cyberjaya again. If you expect it like any other towns around Klang Valley, you’ll be disappointed. Come to Cyberjaya with an open mind and talk to the people especially those who have chosen to live, work or setting up their businesses here.