Envoys visit Kuching’s Digital Economic Hub

KUCHING: Five Asean ambassadors from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar visited Kuching’s Digital Economic Hub (DEH) at One Jaya shopping mall here yesterday .

The visit, led by DEH’s chief executive officer (CEO) Eddie Wee, was held in conjunction with the Digital Tourism Forum organised by Asean-China Entrepreneurs Association which aims to showcase the facilities, products, opportunities and potential digital solutions DEH has to offer the region and the ambassador’s respective countries.

DEH, a private sector initiative, is a sprawling 12,000 sq feet centre for learning Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), which is also a centre that offers technological applications to businesses and industries commercially.

The hub serves two main purposes: to educate our younger generation and encourage them to pursue careers in STEAM industries by exposing them to digital technology, and to provide local businesses and industries a chance to adopt digital tech into their industries and jobs.

Most importantly, we are equipping the young generation for exposure to digital technology, science, programming and automation. We aim for this because under our state’s call for digital transformation, the first thing that needs to be done is to stimulate education. If our people aren’t exposed to technology there is no such thing as digital economic transformation.

When we talk about digital economy, we are actually talking about mobile internet and everything else. For example, integrating mobile tech in healthcare, industrial production, education and tourism. When everything is enhanced with technology, the resultant digital economy.

Only when everyone is involved in digital economy through education on tech and the adoption of tech by our industries, can we then expect Sarawak to undergo digital transformation, Wee told the press during the visit.

Since its launch two months ago, DEH has managed to attract thousands of students from throughout Sarawak to come and learn and familiarise themselves with the latest digital tech available in the market, as well as personnel interested in collaboration from various industries, universities, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and China’s tech giant Huawei.

Currently, one of the hubs main participants is the ‘Mech Club’ of Chung Hua Middle School No 1. Formed last year, the club has recently taken up residence in the DEH where members are provided coaching from tech experts and access to advanced facilities and equipment such as 3D printing stations, programming and coding software, and a laser fabrication lab.

Given free reign over what projects they undertake, some of the inventions the students are developing during club activities are a smart house system that relies on sensor technology and a robotic hornbill structure that will be showcased at the launch of Sarawak Career and Training Fair later this month.

Wee said DEH has attempted to promote further interest and participation in STEAM subjects by organising an upcoming robotics cup where students will compete against one another with their own robots.

The students have to assemble their own robots, and they can design the robots however they want. We only provide advice and coaching on how they can bring their ideas to life and create their own robots.

The competition makes use of one of the DEH key products, an educational robotics system called ‘Makeblock’ that is equipped with sensors and motors and can be programmed and customised by their users.

Besides ‘Makeblock’, DEH is also the official country and exclusive distributor of ‘Dobot’ a robotic arm that can be utilised in educational and small scale industrial purposes, ‘Proteus’ an affordable and locally developed brand of 3D printer and ‘Zeemaker’ a larger and more industrial 3D printer.

For each product, DEH has designed several syllabuses to educate both children and adults on how the product’s technology works, how it can be applied and how it can be used effectively.

Wee said another DEH would be soon set up in Cyber Jaya, and was hopeful the Asean ambassadors would be interested to find out how they can setup a similar centre in their respective countries.

In terms of STEM education, we are one of the most technologically advanced centres in Asean, and we hope to bring that tech to other parts of Asean, he said.

The visiting Asean ambassadors are Houmaophone Souhaseum from Laos, Rath Many from Cambodia, Le Quy Quynh from Vietnam, Nipa Niranoot from Thailand and Sein New Aw from Myanmar.

Source: Sarawak Government