Rural communities won’t be sidelined in digital economy transformation

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg assured today that the rural will not be sidelined by the state government’s digital economy transformation programme.

He said the state government needs everyone on board with the use of digital technology to accelerate socioeconomic growth.

“While we want to upgrade the living standard for the rural communities who depend on agriculture, it has to be looked at from a different perspective.

“It is an economic activity that will provide income to the rural people, and for that to succeed, we have to provide the right input, including technology that will enhance productivity,” he said in his closing speech at the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS 2019) here.

He said the state government wants farming communities to opt for technology that will yield better income for them.

“That is exactly what the Sarawak government is doing for the rural communities,” he said.

The chief minister said the state government has already started to implement smart farming in Kuching by using IoT (Internet of Things) devices to monitor farming environment and conditions to boost crop productivity.

He said by using automation to increase the precision and rate of farming, the agriculture sector will be able to generate more production in a short time.

“With IoT, monitoring system in agriculture, data collection to detect trouble area, harvest time and farm production can be more systematic,” he said.

On IDECS, he said the event provided many useful ideas and suggestions from the speakers, including theoretical physicist Professor Dr Michio Kaku from the City University of New York, and digital and innovation strategist Inma Martinez, on the transformation of the state’s digital action plan.

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“I will announce the action plan after I have studied the ideas and suggestions,” he said.

Later, he witnessed the exchanging of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between state-owned Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and six technology companies IBM (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, General Electric International Inc, Keysight Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Honeywell Engineering Sdn Bhd and Fusionex Innovation Sdn Bhd.

SMA also entered into an agreement with the University of Malaya.

SMA general manager Dr Zaidi Razak said the MoU marked a great start for collaboration between SMA and the six technology companies to establish the Sarawak Centre of Excellence (SCE) for digital economy.

He said SMA aims to transform Sarawak into a leading research, development and innovation hub in the region for digital economy, with local universities, leading international universities and technology companies.

Zaidi said SCE will also serve as a platform for the partners to showcase their capabilities and technologies, promoting their partnership with the state government as well as opportunities for outcomes from research and startups.

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