Sarawak needs to fully embrace digital transformation, says Abang Johari
Posted on : 21 Jun 2022  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari places his hand on the tablet to symbolically officiate IDECS 2022 while (from left) Uggah, Dr Sim and Dr Hazland look on. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (June 21): Sarawak needs to fully embrace digital transformation to maximise the economic value in the global business environment that is dynamic and volatile, says Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said through the advancement of digital transformation, this serves as the key towards improving productivity and efficiency.

According to him, one of the distinguishing features of various digital transformations has been the exponential growth in machine-readable information or digital data, over the Internet.

“Such data are core to all fast-emerging digital technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and all Internet-based services.

“They have become a fundamental economic resource,” he said when officiating the 5th International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) 2022 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

He said this trend on data was reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic which led to many activities shifting to online.

“Cross-border data flows are a new kind of international economic flow, which lead to a new form of global independence.

“As such, regulating data flows at the international level has become more urgent,” he said.

He noted that the current regional and international regulatory frameworks tended to be either “too narrow in scope or too limited geographically”, thus failing to enable cross-border data flows with an equitable sharing of economic development gains while properly addressing risks.

“There is a need for a new regulatory framework. Developing countries need to find the optimal balance between promoting domestic economic development, protecting public policy interests and integrating into the global digital ecosystem,” he said.

Abang Johari said since the commencement of the first Digital Economy Strategy (2018-2022), Sarawak has successfully enhanced the state’s economic development through a transformation in several sectors including agriculture, oil palm industry, e-commerce, finance and fintech, digital government, smart city, tourism, manufacturing and services industry.

He shared that among the achievements under this agenda over the last five years was the establishment of the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to spearhead, oversee and facilitate the development and implementation of the communication, multimedia and the state’s Digital Economy Initiatives; the construction of digital infrastructure to widen coverage and provide connectivity especially to rural communities; and the establishment of a Digital Academy at the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) to focus on the skills needs for digital economy, just to name a few.

He also touched on the Sarawak Digital Economy Blueprint which he said will focus on five aspects namely nurturing integrated ecosystem to foster inclusive digital society; building the right foundations to grow digital economy; fostering business growth and vibrant technology sector; capitalising on digital technologies to maximise digital value; and delivering simple, secure and trusted services.

Abang Johari pointed out that the state government remains ambitious about Sarawak’s digital future where the goal is to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030.

“In summary, it means that there will be a frictionless government service delivery; all businesses are digitally driven business; Sarawak has a vibrant and globally competitive technology sector; thriving high growth industries; all Sarawakians have access to digital skills and technology; and that Sarawak is cyber secure.

“With careful planning, commitment, partnership and focus of delivery excellence, I am confident that Sarawak will be a thriving society driven by data and innovation,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar.