Abang Johari speaking during the launch of Unimas’ Tun Abang Haji Openg digital centre. – Photo by Information Department

KUCHING (Aug 4): Sarawak wants to emulate Estonia’s e-Residency, an initiative which allows foreign investors and professionals to conduct their business operations despite being located outside of the state.

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said this was because he was inspired by Estonia’s effort in pushing towards a digital society.

He said Estonia’s e-Residency programme has enabled foreign entrepreneurs to access all the same advantages in business as those located inside the country.

He believes by adapting this policy, it would ease immigration procedures for foreign investors and professionals entering Sarawak.

“Currently, we are giving five-year work permits to foreign professionals to work here but this is a temporary measure.

“So, what we want to do next is e-Residency, so that foreign experts and professionals can manage their operations here while based in their own countries,” said when met reporters after launching the Tun Abang Haji Openg digital centre at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) today.

He said the innovation would serve as digital identification which would help ease businesses services.

“We will give them a special pass to come in and out, but of course, there will be regulations as well as terms and conditions.

“There will be criterias to be met before we issue this special card for those eligible. We will try this out so that young and future generations of Sarawakians have the chance to become e-Sarawakian,” he said, adding that the state government would work with industries and embassies to screen applicants for the programme.

When asked on when he will present the proposal, Abang Johari said this would need the State Legislative Assembly’s approval before it could be implemented.

However, he did not say when it would be brought to the state legislature.

“This is something new. We have to study it and come up with a model,” he added.

e-Residency is a digital infrastructure launched by Estonia to enable people from outside the country to enjoy all the same advantages in business as locals.

E-residents can manage all aspects of their businesses entirely online from banking to signing documents to even paying Estonian taxes.