Open Lab to power Sarawak’s digital economy aspiration

Posted on : 09 Jul 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Sarawak to develop Open Lab to explore new initiatives with help from top international partners

Abang Johari stops at a booth during his Idecs 2019 tour. On his left is SMA general manager Dr Zaidi Razak. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak would be partnering with top international digital technology players to develop an Open Lab in its quest towards digital economy.

He said the state, through Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), would be exchanging 10 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with international partners, who would assist in exploring and researching new digital initiatives.

“These partners will assist us in the Open Lab to explore and research new digital initiatives to support our digital economy.

“There will also be one joint venture agreement exchanged between Sacofa and Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd of Brunei Darussalam, relating to providing high-speed retail internet services in Sarawak, and one MoU exchange between Sacofa and Xperanti on partnership for provision of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari in his opening address at the launch of International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (Idecs) here yesterday.

An Open Lab brings together experienced design professionals, academics, graduates and students into multi-disciplinary teams that solve problems and create unexpected design solutions.

The signing of the 10 MoUs between SMA and the international partners will take place today.

The chief minister added that technologies such as 5G telecommunications, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Leaning, Voice Recognition, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Fintech, Blockchain, Big Data, Data Analytics, and Robotics are going to shape the way the industrial sectors design their services, products and processes, as well as the evolution of the global economic ecosystems.

“I believe, with our strategies in hand and with support from the whole community, Sarawak can be on par with developed countries in its digital journey.

“We can no longer be left behind in terms of digital technology adoption and digital economic growth that can very well benefit for our people. Either we push ahead in new research areas or we will be always a follower without being able to bring much progress to our people and country,” he said.

He added that by restructuring cash-based transactions and using digital payments in the very near future, the government can efficiently cut the black economy and increase revenue through sales tax.

This, he stressed, is one of the most obvious and common benefits of digital economy because when transactions are digitised, monitoring sales and taxes becomes more convenient.

“There are so many other benefits from digital economy which almost every country in this world is going into. For Sarawak, we began that journey when I took over as chief minister and we have charted our strategies and action plans which are now in the early stage of implementation,” he explained.

Idecs 2019, which began yesterday, is a two-day conference attended by over 2,300 delegates from nine countries, namely Malaysia, Australia, China, Estonia, India, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and the United States.

This year’s theme is ‘Envisioning Sarawak Future Living’.

Among those present yesterday were deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, as well as Brunei’s Minister of Transport and Info-communications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Mohammad Yusof.