Early in 1999, the U.S. business press was measuring Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) for a coffin. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's vision of a Silicon Valley built from scratch for East Asia was being torpedoed by his own intemperate reaction to his country's 1997 financial crisis. With international investors nervous, it was predicted that the twin cities of Putrajaya (intended as the new government center of Malaysia) and Cyberjaya (the new San Jose of Malaysia) would never get off the ground.

Well, hold the crepe. Malaysia's currency, the ringgit, has recovered, and multinational companies such as Motorola and Sun Microsystems, which slammed the brakes on development in the MSC in 1997, are back in 2000, with Motorola CEO Chris Galvin pledging a $250 to $500 million investment in WAP (wireless application protocol)-related research and Sun's Lionel Lim, vice president and managing director/Asia-south, declaring that there would be "no scaling back of our investment in the MSC."

In short, the Cyberview Lodge, a 74-room hotel that was one of the earliest projects in Cyberjaya (which translates loosely as "City of Techies"), is ready to deliver on its promise to be a high-tech hotel in what will one day be the high-tech nerve center of Southeast Asia.

Fiber Among the Palms Odds are you have never experienced a high-tech environment quite like this one. The Lodge is set in a 28.8-acre oil palm estate. Tennis and horseback riding are available, as well as fishing in the resort's lake. The 68 Chalet Rooms are, by any standard, generously sized at 740 square feet. There are also four suites and two larger bungalows. Cyberview's seven meeting rooms include the Sutera Room, which seats 250 theater-style. The property is located halfway between the city of Kuala Lumpur and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

For U.S. planners seeking big-time connectivity, the real fun at Cyberview Lodge begins with the phone system, which is a Lucent all-fiber system that feeds into a high-capacity (2.5 to 10 gigabyte) fiber-optic backbone built by Telekom Malaysia Berhad to serve the Cyberjaya area. Local cellular service is supported using the GSM and PCN system protocols (check with your local provider to see whether your phones are supported). Every guest room has a data port for high-speed Internet access. All the poolside chalets, suites, and bungalows include Internet-connected PCs.

Connectivity extends to the meeting rooms. The boardroom handles videoconferencing, with a data port at each of its 26 seats, Iris conferencing technology for brainstorming and polling, and a simultaneous translation system that can handle 12 languages.

Attached to Cyberview Lodge is Cyberview Gardens, which consists of 52 two- and three-bedroom apartments. Eight office buildings house, among other tenants, the Multimedia Develop-ment Corp. which is overseeing construction of the MSC.

More to Come Cyberjaya is by no means complete, but progress continues. The city was formally opened in July 1999, and one of its first big infrastructure projects, the Multimedia University is now open and expected to reach its full enrollment of 6,000 students within three years. As of the second quarter of 1999, 187 companies were operating in the MSC. That's up from 47 in 1997.

Whether or not Cyberjaya meets its ambitious growth targets, the project appears to be regaining momentum. Its 41-member advisory board (replete with high-profile U.S. CEOs) is still meeting regularly, staying, no doubt, at the Cyberview Lodge, which should provide U.S. companies with a ground-zero view of the tech-industry action in Malaysia for a long time.