KUCHING: The Sarawak government always welcomes local industries and global players to join them in developing the state’s digital economy, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said yesterday.
He said the government has established a number of innovation hubs and digital village comprising of numerous co-working spaces that act as community nodes for entrepreneurs and to acquire support such as market access, intellectual property protection, access to investors, talent upskiling and more.
“We currently have seven innovation hubs and five private sector partner hubs across Sarawak including those in partnership with Facebook and Serba Dinamik.
“To date, more than 600 programmes have been conducted through these hubs impacting entrepreneurs and innovators from students to adults,” he said at the 4th International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (Idecs) 2020 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).
He said a few of the startups are in fact participating in government solutions for the people.
“The Qmunity App, which started as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project by a startup, has now tied together with Huawei to increase its usability with facial recognition capabilities,” he remarked.
On Idecs, the chief minister said the annual conference has become an iconic yearly global event to share new ideas, develop strategies and address issues and challenges to move forward in digital economy.
“Digital economy poses a potential threat to those who are reluctant to embrace new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, or Blockchain, while providing new opportunities to those who are willing to embrace technology.
“Digital transformation will impact the economic development as well as social well-being of every community. It will challenge the government’s capability to provide its services in a larger and complex economy,” he said.
Abang Johari pointed out that it was for that reason that Idecs had become the cornerstone for people to learn and adopt new digital technologies, skills and know-how so that everyone can benefit from digital economy.
This year’s Idecs, themed ‘Data and Innovation in Accelerating Social and Economic Prosperity’, went hybrid in light of the Covid-19 pandemic where a controlled number of 500 participants attended the opening day of the event while the rest attended virtually via webinar and live streaming on TVSarawak and Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook channels.
The two-day event features a line-up of international speakers such as Prof Stephane Garelli, who is a Professor Emeritus at Institute of Management Development (IMD) Lausanne; Zuckerberg Media founder and creative director Randi Zuckerberg; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Infectious Disease Epidemiology professor David Heymann; and AI Data scientist Inma Martinez.
The other speakers are Harvard Business School Technology Management and Innovation expert Prof Karim R Lakhani; WAU Animation Studios chief executive officer Muhammad Usamah Zaid Yasin; UCLA School of Theatre Theatre and Performance Studies Prof Suk-Young Kim; NanoMalaysia chief executive officer Dr Rezal Khairi Ahmad; Shenzhen Technology University circular economy consultant and professor Prof Dr Gordana Kierans; and Porter Erisman who is a leading expert on e-commerce in China.
At the event, Abang Johari also witnessed the exchange of several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and Memorandums of Agreements (MoA) which included an MoU between Sarawak Centre of Performance Excellence and Malaysia Board of Technologists; MoU between Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and strategic partners such as Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Merdeka Waterfront Hotel Sdn Bhd; MoA between SDEC and strategic partners such as Mynic Berhad and Xperanti Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd, and ARX Media Sdn Bhd; MoU between Sacofa Sdn Bhd and strategic partners namely PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd and Danawa Resources Sdn Bhd; and MoA between the Sarawak State Human Resource Unit and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).