Malaysian firm expands data facility in Johor, aims to attract Singapore companies

Senai, JOHOR - Malaysian company Puncak Semangat is investing RM150 million (S$56 million) to expand its data and cloud computing facilities near Senai Airport in Johor state, with an aim of attracting firms in Singapore and southern Johor keen to lower their information technology costs.

Construction of the second phase of the Synergycloud Data Center on 5.2 hectares of land at Senai Airport City will begin soon and it is expected to be fully operational by year 2017, company officials said.

The project was officially launched on Wednesday by Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

The first phase of the data centre in Senai costing RM30 million on 233 sq m of land started operations in December last year.

When ready, the project will be the largest data and cloud computing centre in southern Malaysia, and within the fast-growing Iskandar Malaysia economic zone, company officials said.

The Senai data centre will be Puncak Semangat's fourth integrated management centre after computing centres were built in three locations in Selangor from 1999.

Puncak Semangat, an associate company of a group controlled by Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, is working with Japan's Fujitsu as its technology partner in the project.

Puncak Semangat chairman Syed Azmin Syed Nor said the Synergycloud Data Center is well-positioned at the crossroads of an international trading route "and its proximity to Singapore enhances its attractiveness to investors and (the) business community".

Mr Syed Azmin had said in February that at the very least, his company is hoping that Singapore companies, especially the small and medium enterprises, would move their data recovery centres to Johor "where costs are lower and (computer) standards are on a par."

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar is Malaysia's eighth-richest man. Forbes put his personal fortune at US$2.9 billion (S$3.9 billion) last year. Mr Syed Azmin is his younger brother.

Puncak Semangat and the Al Bukhary group are a mainstay in servicing the IT needs of Malaysian government ministries and arms.

reme@sph.com.sg