Go Digital or Go Bust

SIBU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has urged the business community here to change their mindset and embrace technology to help develop the state.

He said that while Sarawak is just beginning to transform its economy, other countries are already talking about autonomous economy, which includes the application of sensors and artificial intelligence.

Launching digital economy is an important step for us to ensure that our state would not lag behind the rest of the world.

You just imagine, if we do not embrace technology, we will be left far behind the rest of the world, he said at the United Chinese Association (UCA) Sibu Division Chinese New Year celebration at Kingwood Hotel here on Monday.

Though this is a very challenging task, I have to persuade Sarawakians to change our way of developing the country by embracing technology, creating a conducive ecosystem, training our people and using our talents to transform our economy, he added.

Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak has little choice but to embrace technology because it has changed the economic landscape and is affecting many areas of businesses.

Citing the role of taxi drivers as an example of business affected by technology, he said no taxi driver could tell the people not to download the respective app for Uber and Grab and make use of their services.

Technology is here and it has affected our taxi drivers. What we can do is to encourage taxi drivers to have their own application and to provide services better than Uber and Grab, such as by telling the passengers that they are insured (when riding in a taxi).

If I were to choose (between taxis and ride-hailing services), I would choose the one that had insurance. That is one way creativity comes into play for taxi drivers, he said.

On helping rural folk to brace for the impact of technological advancement, he said the government is transforming the rural economy through technology.

He said within his first four months as chief minister, he allocated RM1 billion to upgrade rural infrastructures which includes high-speed Internet connection.

He also mentioned that the state is targeting to be a net exporter of food by 2030, which can be done by embracing technology in agriculture.

He said with about 134,000 square kilometres of land and with only 2.7 million people, Sarawak can produce abundant food for export.

Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and wife Datin Amar Doreen Mayang, Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and wife Datin Sri Pauline Leong, Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, KTS Group managing director Dato Henry Lau and deputy managing director Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau, UCA Sibu president Kong Hian Khim and Sibu Resident Charles Siaw were among those present at the event.

Source: Sarawak Government