Sarawak expects its digital economy to make up 17.4% of its GDP by 2025

(From left) Dr Sabariah posing for a photo with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Lo after presenting her keynote address.

KUCHING: Sarawak plans to increase the contribution of the digital economy to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 17.4% by 2025.

For next year, it is targeting 2.3% contribution to the GDP from its digital economy.

Deputy State Secretary (Performance and Service Delivery Transformation) Datuk Dr Sabariah Putit said the government is confident in hitting this target as the state has taken great strides in transforming its economy.

“Extra investment in digital technology will aid in productivity and support economic growth,” she added.

“Transformation towards a digital economy will enable Sarawak to focus on the global market and create bigger opportunities for its people.

“On the state’s framework to develop its digital economy, we are looking at reducing the socioeconomic divide, generating business opportunities through e-commerce, creating value through innovation and entrepreneurship, increasing employment of youths and achieving digital government for transparency,” she said in a keynote address on Sarawak State Initiatives on Digital Economy.

Sabariah was representing State Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani at the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum on Thursday.

She said the priority sectors in the Sarawak digital economy ecosystem included smart cities, health, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, e-commerce and services.

The state will create the environment to support growth in these sectors with digital infrastructure such as high-speed Internet, digital village and e-commerce hubs.

“The state will focus on technology transfer innovation and commercialisation, research and development as well as talent development.

“We have embarked on building a centre of excellence to support our digital transformation,” she added.

Sabariah said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will launch the Sarawak Digital Strategy Document next month.

The State Legislative Assembly also passed the setting up of Sarawak Multimedia Authority during its recent sitting.

Among the state’s strategic actions are the introduction of smart and precision farming in the agriculture sector, encouraging farmers to adopt technologies to increase efficiency and productivity.

The state would also set up a distribution system and marketing strategies to expand its products to new markets as well as introduce new technologies to aid its conservation efforts and promote tourism through digital media.

Sabariah said the state would increase accessibility to improve health services in rural and remote Sarawak, as well as introduce attractive healthcare packages to spur health tourism.

“Governance, data and information will be fully digitalised to create a seamless government.

“We will equip public service employees with skills and knowledge in technologies.

“On digital infrastructure, the state will improve broadband coverage, speed and reliability.

“We will optimise utilisation of existing and new telecommunications and network infrastructure,” she added.

Jeffrey Lo, a distinguished engineer and chief architect with Cisco Systems Inc, United States, emphasised the importance of human capital development.

He stressed on the need to focus on skills development in technologies for the youths.

He also suggested that Sarawak carry out more collaborations and labs with international companies to raise the level of workforce competency to reach global standards.

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