Saturday, May 25

State to allocate RM10 mln annually for start-up fund


THE state government will allocate a budget of RM10 million a year for the Sarawak Digital Start-Up Fund to provide a basic supporting allowance for young people whose proposed projects have been approved for development as start-ups.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the funding will commence early next year.

“I would like to see at least 100 start-up projects by the end of 2018. Those who have successfully developed their start-up projects, they will need additional funding in order to develop their projects further.

“I will set aside funds for this purpose and I have already allocated RM30 million for the setting up of the Digital Village to undertake this start-up programmes, which I intend to launch by August this year,” he told the august House when delivering his first winding up speech as Chief Minister yesterday.

The Sarawak Digital Start-Up Fund is one of several projects that will be undertaken by the state government in the next three years. Apart from that, Abang Johari also pointed out that the state government will introduce a portal for local producers that will be connected to the global digital market.

“In the short term, we can immediately promote the cottage industry as well as seasonal fruits and food which often crop up now and then in various remote parts of Sarawak,” he said.

He also touched on the manufacturing sector in the medium term, where the state government would encourage the automation of the production of kek lapis.

“The challenge is to ensure that the taste from automate production is as good if not better than the handmade version. Information can be provided to the person supervising the production so that the output can be personalised.

“In the medium term, we shall introduce Industry 4.0 on a pilot project for furniture-making, whereby the production of furniture is modernised and fully controlled from design to the sourcing of raw materials, production and marketing,” he said.

On the tourism sector, Abang Johari said a mobile application for visitors in Sarawak will be developed and this will contain games for them to play using the local environment as well as providing information concerning the nearest places to eat and drink, entertainment, accommodation and medical care services.

“In the longer term, we shall establish a virtual museum on a portal with 3D images of places of interest to attract potential visitors to Sarawak. We can also add in the virtual reality of a particular longhouse for an immersive experience,” he said.

In addition to this, Abang Johari also noted that he intended to introduce several short-term projects “to make Kuching City smarter” such as a pilot project where a mobile application will provide information on the different modes of transportation that are currently available, with respect to time of arrival of the next bus, the nearest taxi, the nearest vacant parking lots, and the payment of parking fees.

“In Kuching as well, we shall provide a full coverage of high resolution video cameras in busy areas to allow face detection and enforcement. This will deter petty crimes and improve the security of the city centre through video data and surveillance,” he said.

He added that the government will also work with telephone companies to enable micro-payments so that an alternate payment system can be developed to help those who do not have banking accounts.

“This will improve on the payment of small amounts through the mobile phone for both locals and visitors.”