Opening Address and Official Launching of IDECS 2019
Deliver on 10 Jul 2019

click here for Opening Address and Official Launching of IDECS 2019 pdf files.


Opening Address and Official Launching of IDECS 2019

By YAB Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman
Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg
Chief Minister of Sarawak
At 9:00 a.m, 8th July 2019 (Monday)
Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK)


The Honourable Deputy Chief Minister

The Honourable Minister of Transport and Infocommunications of Brunei, Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof,

Distinguish Guest

The Conference Chairman

Distinguish Speakers and Delegates Ladies and Gentleman

Good Morning


Assalamualaikum, Salam Sejahtera and Salam Ibu Pertiwiku


Welcome to Kuching and to IDECS 2019.

1.2 I wish to thank everyone, delegates and participants for attending and supporting this conference which is very important as our digital economy requires everyone’s contribution to ensure its continuous success, be it government, private sectors, and the community.

1.3 I really appreciate and wish to thank our Speakers, Facilitators and Moderator who came all the way from nine (9) countries namely, Australia, China, Estonia, India, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, the U.S,A and Malaysia.

1.4 I would like to thank especially our two (2) Keynote Speakers, Dr. Michio Kaku from the U.S.A and Inma Martinez from Spain for coming to share with us.

2. Introduction

2.1 This is our third year of organizing the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS), and another meaningful conference particularly for the 2,300 delegates.

2.2 Our theme for this year IDECS is “Envisioning Sarawak Future Living”.

2.3 The Keynote speakers from all over the world will certainly bring along invaluable global views, perspectives and best practices to this conference especially those related to the


conference theme and on our digital economy, specifically in the areas of Digital Government, Manufacturing, Smart City, Tourism, Agriculture and e-Commerce.

3.    Theme ”Envisioning Sarawak Future Living”

Ladies and Gentlemen

3.1 Allow me to elaborate on the theme and how are we going to envision our way of life in the near future.


3.2 Nowadays, one of the outstanding technological term we hear almost every day is the world SMART. I think it starts with Smart phones and Smart TVs.

3.3 I have been thrilled by what I have seen from various sources and also from our study visits regarding Smart City, Smart Farming, Smart Parking, Smart Metering for electricity and water consumption, Smart Surveillance for Security Monitoring (Industrial Revolution 4.0), Smart Learning and certainly many more.

3.4 Some of you may have already known a lot about these subjects and are able to imagine to a certain extent how the Smart future living will be.

3.5 Now we are hearing and experiencing more intricate and complex technological terms including 5G telecommunications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine


Leaning, Voice Recognition, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR), Fintech, Blockchain, Big Data, Data Analytics, and Robotics.

3.6 What have all these terms got to do with our future living? Ladies and Gentlemen

3.7 If I may, our daily lives have been influenced by the media in many forms, be it in advertising or entertainment.

3.8 However, the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) into Advertising, Entertainment and Tourism, has changed our perspective of what we thought as only appearing on the screen is now something that is real.

3.9                       One example on the use of VR is Advertisement for tourist

destinations. Tourists can select and preview the real views of the attractive sites or items included in the different tour packages before they decide to purchase these packages.

3.10 Another example of VR is in the Training for deep sea diving. The trainee needs not really dive deep into the sea. The trainee wears the head and body gears. The head gear VR system’s screen covers the trainee’s whole view and simulates the deep-sea environment, with interactive simulation of real-life deep-sea diving. Using the gear, the trainee reacts and learns how to deal with different dangerous situations in deep sea diving without the risk of real dangers. Performance can be measured by the system and evaluated accordingly. In other words, it is a very safe yet very realistic training.


3.11 The same applies when we talk about Augmented Reality (AR) in Computer Games and TV shows.

3.12 One example of such TV show using AR is during sports events such as football or badminton. On the TV screen, you are able to see augmented images on the badminton court which do not exist in the real world. You only see the images on the TV screen. The images can be the names of the player or other images that can be programmed into the view. That is the capability of AR technology.

Mixed-Reality for the Training and Talent Development

3.13 Another technology which has changed our effectiveness and efficiency in training is the Mixed-Reality technology. One example is an electronic manual for repairing engines, which also allows the trainee to zoom or tour the inside of the engine for repair or maintenance purposes.

3.14 This will eliminate any real dangers associated with real life situations in the repair and maintenance activities. Therefore, we do not have to spend so much on raw materials and equipment used for the training.

Automation of Tasks

Automation of tasks using 5G or IoT devices

3.15 There are already numerous automations that used to be performed by human. Tasks such as driving, security, delivery


and even communication are now being taken over by self-driving vehicles, reactive security system, drone delivery and chatbots.

3.16 These tasks are now all taken and handled by systems. What I have mentioned above are some of the life changing technologies that will make our life much easier in the future.

4.    My Vision

4.1 With all these technologies in mind, my vision is that they are going to shape the ways the industrial sectors will design their services, products and processes and also the evolution of the global economic ecosystems. I believe, with our strategies in hand and with the supports from the whole communities, Sarawak can be on the same par with developed countries in its digital journey.

4.2 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.

4.3  I am fully aware of the critics of my vision to bring Sarawak

towards Digital Economy.

4.4 I wish to reiterate that Digital Economy vision is not something that we all can take for granted. Let me just share a simple example of the benefits of transforming into Digital Economy.


4.5 By restructuring cash-based transaction and using digital payments in the very near future, the government can efficiently cut the Black Economy and increase revenue through sales tax. This is one of the most obvious and common benefits of Digital Economy, when transaction is digitized, monitoring sales and taxes becomes more convenient.

4.6 With the introduction of Blockchain in our management and transaction of our accounts and payment, monitoring records of payment, sales, procurement, billings, collection and generation of financial reports becomes so automated that it will eradicate any human intervention and allow for total transparency, cost efficiency, speed and optimal utilization of resources. Blockchain will be one of the more obvious and common benefits of the Digital Economy both to the citizen and the government. Don Tapscott deliberated on the Blockchain technology during the first IDECS Conference in 2017.

4.7 There are so many other benefits from Digital Economy which almost every country in this world is forgoing into. For Sarawak we have began that journey since I took over as Chief Minister and we have chart our strategies and action plans which are now in the early stage of implementation. Please bear with me as we will conduct and roll out our Digital Economy projects surely but certainly and with proper governance. We cannot afford to make mistakes in this journey and with god blessing our State and the people will benefits from our efforts. Insyallah.


5.    Share on Sarawak’s initiatives


Ladies and Gentlemen

5.1                     On that note, allow me to share some of our early initiatives

carried out to implement our Digital Economy strategies.

  1. 6.        Digital Government

6.1 The Sarawak Government has implemented an online identification and authentication system known as “Sarawak ID” for enabling the public to access and use the various online services or application systems of the Sarawak Government.

6.2 The Sarawak ID is the first step towards service-based, people centric government, where people will know the government by the services provided and not functions of departments.

6.3 As at 1stJuly 2019, the number of Sarawak ID registered users is 208,644. Twenty (20) Government services are also now online and registered Sarawak ID users benefit from the flexibility as well as ease of access to these services.

6.4 In the near future, a series of more innovative, engaging, more personalised and seamless services will also be introduced.

  1. 7.        e-Commerce

7.1 For e-Commerce purpose, the Sarawak Government has implemented the e-wallet apps known as Sarawak Pay.


7.2 Many companies can set up e-wallet business. However, unlike other e-wallet service provider, Sarawak Pay is not profit-oriented and as such targets the well-being of the underserved, unbackable and rural people.

7.3 As at 30th June 2019, the number of user sign-up was 91,640; with a total of transactions and top up amounting to RM 35 million. The target is to reach 150,000 users by year end.

7.4 Meanwhile, in order to boost e-commerce, the government has set up e-commerce platform to promote Sarawakian products, including those of women entrepreneurs.

8. Digital Infrastructure

8.1 The key to Digital Economy is the Digital Infrastructure.

8.2 The State Government is setting up 300 telecommunication structures, of which are expected to be completed by 2019.

8.3 These towers cover areas not served by commercial service providers due to the lack of potential for financial return of investment.

8.4 Apart from Cloud technology the state is also in the midst of laying fibre optics cable on land across the breadth of Sarawak while working together with international companies to provide gateway linkage to the global network.

8.5 I would like to say that I am very happy and like to congratulate Long Busang for having its rural connectivity


provided by a private sector organisation which did it as a corporate social responsibility initiative complementing what the Government is doing.

8.6 I hope that there will be more private sector organisation coming forward to initiate and contribute to the development of our rural areas. The Sarawak Government is only able to assist to a certain extent.

9. Digital Inclusivity Ladies and Gentlemen,

9.1 Sarawak has a diverse population. For those coming from abroad, do spend some time to experience the various culture and hospitality of our more than 40 ethnic and sub-ethnic groups, living in rural and city areas. To ensure our social economic development is accelerated we need to get everyone on board the Digital Economy and to use Digital Technology.

9.2 To date, my government has through various agencies has reach the people of different background to create awareness, to educate and to listen so that everyone can be in the mainstream of digital economy.

9.3                      Perhaps the track discussions this afternoon could also take

into consideration how to bring everyone into the mainstream of digital economy.


10. Higher Education and Research


10.1 The development of the Digital Economy sectors would require knowledge workers as a main driving force. Hence, in the areas of Higher Education and Research, the State Government has provided scholarships to students and grants to universities to conduct research. The State will also partner top­notch international technology companies and universities to transfer knowledge and technology as well as to commercialize research outcomes.

10.2 Regarding research and development, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority has provided grants for 26 researchers in 5 universities and 22 Student Researchers doing their Masters and PhDs, including 10 publications. And we have established a digital academy at CENTEXS to train our youth in high level digital skills needed by our telecommunications and IR 4.0 sectors.

10.3 The Sarawak Multimedia Authority has also organized training and awareness programmes on Manufacturing Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0 to explain to our local industrial players on the reasons for the need to change the mindsets and embark into IR 4.0.

11. Smart City

11.1 For the Smart City initiative, the citizens are benefitting from smart features like solar generated light poles, small billboard displaying the latest information, news and events, cashless payment in cafes and stalls, digital waste management, smart traffic light management for improved mobility as well as CCTVs surveillance and central monitoring system.


Old Kuching Smart Heritage

11.2 The objectives of Old Kuching Smart Heritage under the Smart City initiatives includes heritage preservation and conservation, whereby safeguarding of historical heritage is done through digital advancement. The initiative also aims to establish smart infrastructure through the use of IT and cutting edge technology, thus helping to create a smart community where everyone gets involved and embraces technology. This in turn will help to boost the socio-economy of the local community.

11.3 Once everything is in place, the Old Kuching Smart Heritage will completely change the way we experience Kuching old heritage sites and products.

12. Smart Farming/Agriculture

12.1 The Sarawak Government has also implemented smart farming in Kuching Division using IoT devices to monitor the farm’s environment and conditions to boost crop productivity. 12.2 The State is setting up cloud services to cater for the expected surge in IoT data, particularly in storage as a service (SAAS). The cloud services will also cater for the requirements of other verticals such as the manufacturing, fintech, transportation and logistics and other sectors. These may be extended to the private and the public sectors.


12.3 I foresee the demand for cloud infrastructure and services to continue its uptrend. Sarawak is blessed as it is suitably located with abundant resources, political stability and decisiveness, as well as low setting up and operating costs for global cloud solutions. Such favourable climate, of course, means great investment opportunities.

  1. 13.     Some Future Plan

13.1 What I have mentioned are some of the early action plans now being implemented to begin our Digital Economy journey. There is much more in store this year and the years to come.

  1. 14.     Exchange of MoUs and Joint Venture Agreement

14.1 To accelerate further our journey, we are partnering with top international digital technology players and I am glad that, tomorrow, there will be 10 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) exchanges between SMA and various international partners relating to Sarawak Digital Economy. These partners will assist us in the Open Lab to explore and research on new digital initiatives to support our Digital Economy.

14.2 There will also be 1 Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) exchange between SACOFA and Datastream Technology Sdn. Bhd. (DST) of Brunei Darussalam, relating to providing high­speed retail internet services in Sarawak, and 1 MOU exchange between SACOFA and XPERANTI on partnership for provision of IoT Solutions in Sarawak.


15. Concluding Remarks

15.1 Finally, I would like to say a big “Thank you” to everyone for their support and to the Chairman of the IDECS 2019 conference and his team of officers from SMA and SCOPE and all who have helped in this International Digital Economy Sarawak (IDECS) 2019.

15.2 With this, ladies and gentlemen, I hereby officially declare open IDECS 2019 conference and exhibition and I wish you all the best and enjoy conferencing and hope that you will have a fruitful time in Kuching.


15.3 Thank you.

Speeches By: YAB Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg