KUCHING: A five-year road map designed to fully equip Sarawak with possible directions to leapfrog into digital economy has been unveiled.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg launched the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and unveiled the first version of the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy Book 2018-2022 yesterday, heralding the start of digitalisation transformation of Bumi Kenyalang to be at the forefront of the digital world.
The momentous occasion, which coincided with the State Civil Service Day, was witnessed by over 5,000 employees who filled the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
SMA, as the lead authority for Sarawak’s digital economy transformation, will oversee and regulate the digital strategies and initiatives of the state.
The Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022 is a document which clearly spells out the vision, mission and 47 strategic actions to be implemented and improved as they go along the digital economy journey, the chief minister explained.
“2030 is the year we want Sarawak to be a developed state in Malaysia with high income economy. There must not be any rural and urban divide by then, hence digital connectivity is important,” he said.
To achieve this goal, Abang Johari said Sarawak has no other options other than being bold enough, face the reality and take the risks to leapfrog its development plan.
“We have not even reached 3.0 Industrial Revolution and yet we want to reach 4.0 Revolution. We have to bypass the 3.0. Looking at the talents of Sarawakians and with our fighting spirit including the strong Civil Service, I have the conviction that we can bypass 3.0 and achieve 4.0 Industrial Revolution.
“With these comprehensive strategies and action plans, I am very confident that our digital economic developments are progressing towards the right direction,” he assured.
The state digital economy, he said, affects each and everyone, the civil servants and the rakyat.
“That is why I am also launching the State Multimedia Authority on this Civil Service Day so that all civil servants in Sarawak can recognise and understand the significance of this digitalisation initiative,” he said.
Digitalisation, he continued, is impacting people’s economic development as well as social life, causing constant disruptions.
“It poses a potential threat to those who are reluctant to embrace the new technologies while providing new opportunities to others who are prepared to venture into this new field,” he elaborated.
Sarawak, he reiterated, has no choice but to strengthen its development strategies to further accelerate its economic growth to overcome the challenges of global economy.
“This is imperative especially with the emergence of digital economy driven by the rapid explosion of technological advancement and the disruptive forces of the digital revolution,” he said.
As such, he added that the state has to embrace the new era of digitalisation and ride on digital economy in order to stay ahead, thrive and prosper for the wellbeing of the rakyat.
The document covers eight economic sectors namely Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism, Smart City, Digital Health, e-Commerce, Digital Government, Sports, Social, Arts and Culture.
This is supported by seven enablers consisting of Digital Infrastructure, Digital Skills and Talent Development, Research and Development, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital and Data, Cyber Security, and Digital Inclusivity.
“We are already implementing some of these digital disruptive strategies to generate untapped opportunities, innovations and value creation for all,” the Chief Minister said.
“The government has also been relentless in seeking opportunities to learn from experienced countries such as Australia, Finland, Estonia, Germany and France, to give exposure to our officers in certain specialised and highly technical areas,” he added.
Other notable initiatives which have been identified and implemented this year to kick start digital economy in the state include Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS), Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC), improving ICT infrastructure, a Digital Village, promoting e-Learning, promoting Data Hosting and Big Data as well as organising Digital Economy Labs.
Affirming the Civil Service as the central backbone of the government machinery and the main catalyst that triggers transformation, innovation and productivity of the working population, Abang Johari thus called on all civil servants to be on the same page in upholding integrity.
“Undoubtedly, the State Civil Service leads in digitalisation initiatives. Moreover, the contribution of all civil servants to the state is invaluable,” he said.
“That is also the reason why I have entrusted many of the top officers in the Civil Service in Sarawak to play key roles in the digitalisation initiatives of the state.
“They will collaborate with seasoned corporate bigwigs to propel the digital economy to the fore. Without the strong drive from the government, no digital transformation can truly succeed to its full capacity,” he added.
Abang Johari also reminded civil servants that knowledge of digital economy is critical when explaining about it to the people at the grassroots level.
“Many of you have read about it from the papers or from the government website, but I am sure you will be more knowledgeable about it by attending this event and by browsing through the exhibits outside this hall which are also open to the public,” he urged.
He extended his deepest gratitude to all civil servants for their huge contribution towards development of Sarawak and the prosperity of the people.
“This is the aim of BN (Barisan Nasional) government and I hope with you as the machinery, we work together as a team to transform Sarawak as a modern state in Malaysia,” he said, while reaffirming commitment to get back all the state’s rights which have been eroded.
The event also witnessed the presentation of Excellent Financial Management Based On Accountability Index of The Year 2016 Award, Quality Sarawak Civil Service Award 2017, Exemplary Officer Civil Service Day 2017 Award.
State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing; Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong; Local Goverment and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian; Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip; Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Assistant Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh were among those present.