Smart Village Aids to Transform Quality of Life; Malaysia

Researchers from the U.S. and Malaysia have come together in a collaborative effort to create a village that redefines rural poverty relief.  The 30 acre high-tech, self-sustaining community is located northeast of Kuala Lumpur.  With 100 energy-efficient homes and a closed-loop agricultural system that provides not only food for its residents but a surplus for them to sell, the project architects believe the village could be a model for villages around the world.

The Rimbunan Kaseh community, is in the Malaysian state of Pahang and it runs off energy supplies that are largely solar-generated, supplemented by biomass and hydropower.  Its agriculture system grows both animals and crops.  The agriculture system is broken down into four levels, nurturing farmed tilapia – a high protein fish– and then the wastewater is filtered and put to use to irrigate grain fields, trees, and other crops.  The system has proven robust enough to create food to feed the residents, with plenty left over, providing villagers with an additional $400 to $650 of income each month.

Houses in Rimbunan Kaseh came from Australia-based Koto Corp.  The modular homes are constructed from pre-fabricated pieces that fit together, taking just seven to ten days to build, and cost about $16,000 to $20,000.  The village is also equipped with a community center, education and recreational facilities, and 4G Internet equipped for use in both e-learning and e-health.  the count plans to build as many as 12 more sustainable villages like Rimbunan Kaseh in the near future with the hope that their initiative will spur economic growth, provide education and jobs, and improve the quality of life for Malaysia's poorest communities.