Semi-Feurdal Cyber-colonialism

Yes! thank you, Evers and Nordin [of course it is always slightly embarrassing to be posting citations, but the occasional acknowledgement of a phrase I particularly dwelt long on is quite a reward – its from a text from 1999 that was in the Nettime Read Me! Reader (download via the download link in the left column)]

The Symbolic Universe of Cyberjaya, Malaysia
Number of pages: 24 Posted: 10 Jun 2012
Hans-Dieter Evers and Ramli Nordin
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn
Keywords: urban development, urban symbols, identity, knowledge, Malaysia

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the institutionalization of the entire Cyberjaya project is the extent to which it collapses the claims to being multicultural and transnational to a much more familiar pattern of control. Almost all the key decision-makers in the five key agencies – chairmen of boards, chief executives, chief operating officers – are drawn from a very specific social group: a Malay elite that has close ties to the state through bureaucratic arrangements, business contracts and social networks. They represent that generation of Malays who emerged during the NEP era and greatly benefited from Mahathir’s later support for the emergence of ‘modern’, entrepreneurial class. Representative of a highly technocratic managerial style they are, at the same time, rooted in deeply-embedded traditional ties of ethnicity, religion, party politics and personal ties. They are emblematic of what John Hutnyk (1999) calls, in a memorable phrase, ‘semi-feudal cyber-colonialism’.

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