Thursday, November 14, 2013


IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team recommends ways for Malaysian state to drive economic development

NEGERI SEMBILAN, MALAYSIA – 14 November 2013: As part of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, a team of IBM experts has developed a comprehensive blueprint for Negeri Sembilan's economic development and transformation by 2020.

The IBM team has spent three weeks in the region funded by an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant that Negeri Sembilan had secured.  Team members worked with the state government and its one-stop IT agency, Rangkaian Minang (NS) Sdn Bhd (RMNS) to solicit input from numerous stakeholders about the region, located on the western coast of Malaysia, could continue accelerating its shift to a service-based economy from one that has relied principally on agriculture.

A fruitful collaboration. Negeri Sembilan State Secretary, Dato’ Haji Mat Ali Hassan (8th from left/red tie), with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team, state government officers and IBM Malaysia personnel.
(L -R): Eric Wong, Marketing Director of IBM Malaysi David Medeiros, Director of Total Patterning Solutions, USA; Hiroshi Yamamoto, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Technology Officer of Global Electronics Industry, Japan; Tien Nguyen, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Software Services Federal, USA; Farhana Alarakhiya, Director, Industry Solutions & Marketing, IBM Software Group, Canada; Nico van Ruiten, Partner & Business Development Executive, Banking & Financial Markets, Europe, GBS, Netherlands; Dato' Haji Mat Ali Hassan, Negeri Sembilan State Secretary; Dato' Vijay Ratnavelu, Director of Rangkaian Minang (NS) Sdn Bhd; Alberto Rangogni, IBM Global Financing Director, Spanish South America, Argentina.

“The changing economic landscape is leading us to examine ways we can re-examine opportunities for deeper investments in the region. The recommendations from the IBM team will help us to streamline that effort and focus our efforts on the areas that will lead to the highest gains,” said State Secretary of Negeri Sembilan, Dato’ Haji Mat Ali Hassan.

IBM  produced a roadmap  for how the state's agencies could collaborate to attract new investment.  The IBM team also recommended the formation of an body to oversee the realisation of Negeri Sembilan’s economic development goals.

“We noted that there was great scope for cross-agency collaborations within the government, including proactive engagement in citizen-centricity and long term sustainability. Taken together, these initiatives should help the region realize sustainable economic growth,” said Paul Moung, Managing Director of IBM Malaysia. “We hope that the broad base of expertise and experience this team has will contribute to the state being able to meet its objectives using smart technologies.”

The state’s leadership also recognised the value of tradition and culture in ensuring that Negeri Sembilan remains a state where citizens want to live, learn, work, and raise their families. The state hopes to ensure GDP growth of 37% from RM27.7B to RM38B, as well as ensure growth in per income/capita growth of 23% from RM32.5K to RM40K.  It wants to retain manufacturing as a core economic driver, yet diversify its economic base to ensure that it will not be subject to market volatility.

Launched in 2011, the Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-region US$50 million programme. It is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, which funds in-person engagements staffed by teams of top IBM experts, who study and then make detailed recommendations addressing locally important issues. Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus was one of the municipalities to win a IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities) in 2013.

As the first state in Malaysia to receive IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge grant, Negeri Sembilan is in a privileged position to benefit from knowledge transfer that will make it a front runner in shaping a smarter state.

IBM has deployed 600 experts on six-person teams over the past three years that have provided strategic and practical advice to 100 municipalities. These highly prized three-week engagements, each valued at USD $400,000, have helped cities and regions address key challenges in the areas of economic development; water, energy and environment; health and social services; transportation; and public safety.  At the end of engagements, IBM presents comprehensive recommendations for solving the problem, followed weeks later by a more detailed, written implementation plan.

For information about some of the lessons learned during previous IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, and to better understand the challenges that municipalities face, please visit

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