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After signing data centre JV, Basis Bay founder Praba Thiagarajah says, ‘It’s time for Malaysia to wake up’

After signing data centre JV, Basis Bay founder Praba Thiagarajah says, ‘It’s time for Malaysia to wake up’

08 Nov 2023

By Dzof Azmi November 8, 2023

  •  Signs JV with Singapore’s STT GDC to boost Malaysia’s data centre aspirations
  • Two data centres located in Cyberjaya set to be operational by 2024 and 2025

(L-R): Thyaga Rajan Serniwassan, CEO, Basis Bay Data Centres; Praba Thiagarajah, Executive Chairman, Basis Bay; Zuaida Abdullah, ED – Services Division, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA); Mahadhir Aziz, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation; Bruno Lopez, President and Group CEO, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres; and Lionel Yeo, CEO, Southeast Asia, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres.

Malaysia’s digital infrastructure is set to receive a significant boost as Basis Bay, a global provider of sustainable cloud and green data centres headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, announced a partnership with ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC), a rapidly growing global data centre provider from Singapore. The alliance aims to develop, construct and operate data centre projects in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya with total investments to be in the billions though neither STT GDC and Basis Bay provided details of their investments. This initiative underscores Basis Bay’s commitment to sustainable, efficient digital solutions and marks a significant contribution to the expansion of Malaysia’s digital infrastructure said Praba Thiagarajah, Executive Chairman of Basis Bay.

The partnership’s focus is building a data centre campus in Cyberjaya, located approximately 30 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. The three-acre campus will host two comprehensive data centre buildings. The first, known as ‘Cyberjaya DC.2’, is designed to be highly secure and sustainable, meeting the digital needs of domestic and international banks, financial institutions, government agencies, and other crucial industry segments. The other building, ‘STT Kuala Lumpur 1’, will cater to the hyperscale segment. These facilities, set to be operational by 2024 and 2025 respectively, are in response to the growing demand for digital infrastructure in Malaysia.

Having operated data centres in Malaysia for 27 years, Basis Bay brings a deep understanding of local regulations and clients. This matched with STT GDC’s portfolio of 85 data centres across 10 geographies, makes for a competitive blend of local expertise and global excellence in data centre operations.

“Basis Bay recognizes the soaring demand for data centres, mainly fuelled by the proliferation of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, as well as growth from global cloud service providers and the continuous expansion of digital services,” said Praba. He sees data centres as becoming increasingly essential, with the demand for such infrastructure projected to continue rising.

A JV with both significant domestic and foreign direct investment

With the entire complex delivering close to 20MW of IT load when it is complete, Praba confirms that the total investment needed will eventually climb into the “billions”. “We will be the most significant data centre by far, by domestic direct investments (DDI),” he said stressing the importance of DDI in the data centre industry. Pointing to the majority of data centre investments in Malaysia being fully foreign owned, Praba believes that it is crucial for a country to have local control and participation in its digital infrastructure due to issues of data sovereignty and national security and that the ownership of data centres should not be fully foreign-controlled, especially when hosting mission-critical data. He also suggested that regulatory frameworks need to be established to monitor and control the type of data stored in these centres.

“It’s time for Malaysia to wake up. Data sovereignty and protection of key digital infrastructure is something we can’t afford to ignore,” Praba declared.

In this venture, Basis Bay and STT GDC will each hold a controlling interest in separate joint venture companies associated with the data centre project. Basis Bay, as the majority shareholder, plans to focus on serving mission-critical clients, including financial institutions, while STT GDC will target the hyperscale segment.

“The FDI infusion from STT GDC, with our portfolio of 85 data centres spanning ten geographies, brings global expertise, international standards, best practices, advanced technology and access to a wider market including hyperscale customers,” explained Bruno Lopez, President & Group CEO, STT GDC. “On the other hand, the DDI contributions from Basis Bay bring a deep understanding of the domestic landscape, regulatory nuances, and valuable local relationships, including its network of enterprise customers.”

Meanwhile Ts. Mahadhir Aziz, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) noted that the joint venture provides Malaysia a world-class hyperscale data centre facility while emphasising AI integration into its services. “This joint venture would also form a Centre of Excellence to train local high-end talent for regional and global demands in the data centre industry. MDEC’s mandate is to drive the digital economy and accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation,” he said.

As pioneers of green solutions in Asia’s data centre industry, Basis Bay also affirmed its commitment to the environment through the new project. They emphasise energy efficiency and will power the data centres with as much green energy as possible, and will go to the extent of hiring an arborist to maintain the plants surrounding the data centres, taking into account their impact on local wildlife. 

Souce: Digital News Asia

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