Sarawak invests RM1b in new agency to develop digital economy

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said the state government wants students to be well-rounded and proficient not only in Bahasa Malaysia but also English. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, April 3 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg today announced an ambitious new state corporation that aims to drive the state’s rural economy forward into the 21st century.

He said Sarawak needs a clear roadmap with a specific timeline to develop a wholesome digital economy and a dedicated agency to implement it, which is why his administration is taking the initiative instead of relying on private service providers.

“I am committed to invest RM1 billion to start with to ensure our ICT Infrastructure is fit to support the digital industries, commerce and investment that will be lured to Sarawak,” he said at the opening of the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here.

The state agency is to be known as the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC).

Abang Johari said he wants an uninterrupted network speed where “you can transmit your data, your video, your media either through Wi-Fi or your mobile device anytime, any moment without buffering.”

He also said his administration will set up a local version of the federal authority to manage the state’s communications and multimedia needs, which will be called the Sarawak Multimedia and Communications Authority (SMCA).

“SMCA is also to set up our own set of rules and regulations and policies,” he said.

Abang Johari stressed that digital economy will create an entirely new dimension of development and growth for Sarawak by creating new jobs for young people in both the urban centres and rural areas, transforming the way they live and do business.

“It will challenge the traditional models of doing business in Sarawak and allow young, new entrepreneurs and business people to move forward to the front,” he said.

The chief minister also announced the formation of E-Commerce Transform Plan up to year 2030 for the youth, dubbed the E-Com Y30.

“This plan will prepare our youth at our Digital Village in Samajaya Free Industrial Trade Zone to graduate as e-Commerce start-ups and entrepreneurs with digital knowledge,” he said.

He added that the digital village could be developed to be like the Silicon Valley in the US and provide the necessary infrastructure to inspire digital-minded Sarawakians to produce new business models.