Malaysia, Microsoft ink US$1bil initiative, includes first M'sian data centre region

  • Microsoft establishes first data centre region, touting the creation of 19K jobs
  • Public-private partnership to skill up to one million Malaysians by 2023

Part of Microsoft’s data centre initiatives include a commitment to upskill 1 million Malaysians. (L to R): M. Saravanan, HR MInister, K. Raman, MD, Microsoft Malaysia, Siti Fatimah Badrun, part-time Grab driver, Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mohd Zamha, captain of Malaysia’s National Football team, Reezal Merican, Minister of Youth & Sports and Rashid Shukor, Grab Malaysia Head of Operations.[Ed: Article has been updated with additional information.]

THE Malaysian government has announced an extensive partnership with Microsoft Corp under the “Bersama Malaysia” initiative, a move that will witness the Redmond, Washington-based giant establish its first data centre region in Malaysia, amongst other collaborative aspects.

Speaking at the virtual launch event, Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the initiative will see investments amount up to US$1 billion (RM4.12 billion) over the next five years.

The data centre region, will consist of multiple data centres that will manage data from various countries, he said

Citing research firm IDC, Muhyiddin said the ripple effects of the data centre region investment could translate to US$6.90 of revenue generated in the local cloud ecosystem for every US$1 of Microsoft Malaysia’s cloud revenue [earned] by 2024.

“It is estimated that it will help create 19,000 jobs, including 4,000 IT-related jobs amongst its cloud users,” the prime minister said.

"The upcoming datacenter region will be a game-changer for Malaysia, enabling the government and businesses to reimagine and transform their operations, to the benefit of all citizens,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.

The Bersama Malaysia initiative also saw Microsoft committing to equiping 1 million Malaysians, by Dec 2023, with the skills to thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled digital economy. Towards this target, it has formed multiple public-private partnerships that were signed during the event. Among its partners are, the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), Petronas, Celcom, Grab Malaysia, Social Security Organization (SOCSO), Junior Achievement Malaysia, TalentCorp Malaysia, Biji-Biji Enterprise, a leading social enterprise and local universities to reach people of all socio-economic backgrounds, including young adults and those living with disabilities.

“The partnership with Microsoft underlines PETRONAS' commitment to nurturing a sustainable pipeline of a future-ready workforce equipped to support Malaysia's digital economy,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, PETRONAS.

“Telecommunications and technology sectors are key lifelines to the nation’s digital economy. As the anchor telco tenant, we look forward to bringing the benefit of this datacenter to our customers and partners,” said Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Bhd.

Hailing the initiatives under Bersama Malaysia, Muhyiddin added, “I hope this is just the first green shoots of a broader meadow of investments in Malaysia, for Microsoft and other data [centre] players.”

“This significant investment from Microsoft further fortifies Malaysia’s position as a potential regional data hub, and we stand ever ready to welcome more such partnerships as we work with our stakeholders to continually improve Malaysia’s value proposition in this big data space.”

Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin (right) with Microsoft Malaysia managing director K RamanThe Bersama Malaysia partnership is said to be in line with Malaysia’s MyDigital initiative as well as the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint which was unveiled earlier in February.

Under the blueprint, the government said that it granted conditional approvals to four cloud service providers (CSP), which are Amazon, Google, Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Microsoft.

A data centre region essentially, consists of multiple data centres (pic below). To be specific, it is a set of data centres that are linked together through a dedicated low-latency network. Microsoft has announced more than 60 data centre regions globally.

For the data centre region in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area, Microsoft will be delivering access to the full Microsoft Cloud services. This includes Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

The new data centre region is also expected to deliver Azure Availability Zones, providing additional resilience options for highly available applications, and support Microsoft’s sustainability goals, the company said.

Malaysia, Microsoft ink US$1bil initiative, includes first M'sian data centre region

Additionally, Microsoft said that it has a global commitment to shift to 100% supply of renewable energy by 2025.

This means it will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100% of carbon-emitting electricity consumed by all its data centres, buildings, and campuses, including the planned Malaysia data centre region.

“We are proud to cement our partnership with the nation to accelerate its digital economy. Public-private partnerships are key enablers to propel Malaysia’s digital economy forward,” said K Raman, managing director of Microsoft Malaysia.

“Microsoft’s Bersama Malaysia initiative reflects our joint commitment in support of the nation’s MyDigital aspirations, as we empower every person and every organization in Malaysia to achieve more,” he added.


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