The Malaysian Government is bringing technology to villages in a new rural development project announced this week.

Prime Minister Najib Razak launched the ‘Intelligent Community’ project, using sensor technology to improve communications and safety for villages.

Public facilities in villages will be hooked up with CCTV cameras, like in schools, gardens, police stations, community centres, health clinics and police stations. Sensors in nearby rivers will warn residents of rising water levels.

The project will also provide free internet and telephone calls so that residents can get access to better information for their businesses.

The equipment will have a backup solar energy source, which can last for three days if there is a power failure.

The technology behind the Intelligent Community project was built by Malaysia’s national research and development agency, MIMOS.

The project will be expanded to cover rural areas across the whole country, said Prime Minister Najib Razak, launching the pilot project in Kampung Padang Rumbia in Pahang state.

In remote border areas, the system could help secure against foreign attacks, he said. “We can install the iComm [Intelligent Community] system in East Sabah such as in Lahad Datu, Semporna, and Sandakan. Through the CCTV installed, we can trace the presence of any foreign elements trying to infiltrate into the country.”

In the future, new features could be added to help farmers, like using sensors to monitor moisture content in the soil, MIMOS said.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is funding the project, and will work with MIMOS to ensure features are improved to meet the needs of rural communities.