Microsoft has announced plans to establish a data centre region in Malaysia.
The country's first region will be located in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area and deliver access to the full Microsoft Cloud, as well as deliver Azure Availability Zones and support Microsoft's sustainability goals.
The announcement forms part of the company's Bersama Malaysia -- Together with Malaysia -- initiative, which it has touted as marking a significant commitment to empowering Malaysia's inclusive digital economy and advancing the nation's digital transformation.
"As we cement the Microsoft partnership today, I hope this is just the first green shoots of a broader meadow of investments in Malaysia, for Microsoft, and other data players," Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. "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 partners as we work with our stakeholders to continually improve Malaysia's value proposition in this big data space."
The initiative will also see Microsoft commit to skilling an additional 1 million Malaysians by the end of 2023 to "help create economic opportunities for people and businesses in the digital era".
This will include focusing on areas relating to cloud and AI through work with the Human Resources Development Fund, Social Security Organization, Junior Achievement Malaysia, TalentCorp Malaysia, MAMPU, Grab Malaysia, Biji-Biji Enterprise, and local universities.
"This commitment is a continuation of Microsoft's global skills initiative since July 2020, which has reached more than 110,000 Malaysians to date," it said.
The company said it will also work with the government, startups, and enterprises to support the country's digital transformation goals. Specifically, in partnership with the Social & Economic Research Initiative, Microsoft has established the MyDigital Alliance Leadership Council to collaborate on cloud-first and digital-native policy recommendations.
Local companies such as energy company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and local telco Celcom Axiata Berhad have committed to helping advance Malaysia's nation-building and digital ambitions, as well as using the Microsoft Cloud from the new data centre region when available, Microsoft said.
Microsoft has also been appointed by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) to provide cloud services to the Malaysian public sector agencies through 2023.
Citing research from IDC, Microsoft said its new investment will help generate around $4.6 billion in new revenues for the country's ecosystem of local partners and their customers over the next four years. It also expects to contribute more than 19,000 new direct and indirect jobs.