Banking On Sarawak Pay, LRT

KUCHING: The two key initiatives by the state government � Sarawak Pay and the proposed Light Railway Transit (LRT) � would help generate more activities for the local economy.

According to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, this is in line with the state government’s aim towards a cashless society as well as to make the cityfolk more mobile.

Sarawak is the first state to have its own e-payment system (Sarawak Pay), initially to allow people to pay utilities and other public service bills. We want to have Sarawak Pay not for the sake of having it, but we also see it as a facility that will ease business transactions � from small to big, he said in a speech at the launch of Harvey Norman Superstore at Vivacity Megamall here yesterday.

The chief minister’s text-of-speech was read by Assistant Minister of E-Commerce and Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais.

Harvey Norman managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, Kenneth Aruldoss and Kuching South City mayor Datuk James Chan were also present.

Moreover, Abang Johari said this form of payment is very common in China, especially in restaurants and eateries, where they display the Quick Response (QR) codes on their tables.

Even trishaws and street vendors are using QR codes, allowing people to settle payments using their e-wallets on their smartphones, which are connected to their bank accounts.

We also see that this will lead Sarawak to having a ‘cashless society’ in a not-too-distant future.

Of course, Sarawak Pay will have to be improved along the way to make it more user friendly, without having to link it here and there before any payment could go through.

Speaking on the LRT proposal, Abang Johari disclosed his progress in researching options in other countries.

I went to Germany previously and earlier this week, I was in China to explore options to our proposed LRT, slated to connect Kuching with Serian, Kota Samarahan and (Pantai) Damai.

We will be using the latest clean energy technology to power this LRT � hydrogen gas is foremost among our choices.

Deriving hydrogen from water through the process of electrolysis is a very new technology, but we have seen it working in Germany, France and China.

We have a lot of resources in the form of water and I also believe that producing hydrogen as fuel would also generate more activities in our economy, he stated.

The LRT linkage would not only provide connection between places, Abang Johari remarked, but also be integrated with residential areas � another contributing factor to the generation of more economic activities.

Furthermore, Kuching as a modern city like any other must have a mass transit system sooner or later to provide an efficient mode of transportation that moves large numbers of people from one place to another.

My team, spearheaded by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, is working hard to ensure that the LRT could take off ground within the next two or three years.

Source: Sarawak Government