From the beginning of Sarawak’s pursuit of advancing its economy through digitalisation, data has been touted as the State’s ‘new fuel’ in boosting economic progress, and improving the people’s well-being.
This is in line with the global trend of the generation and utilisation of big data resulting from factors such as greater affordability and availability of data collection, storage, and processing, as well as the increase in the shift of socio-economic activities from offline to online.
At its core, effectively collecting, storing, analysing, disseminating, and using data allow individuals, businesses and governments for better understanding and decision making.
Whereas individuals can take data into account on aspects of their lives from online purchasing to future planning, businesses can rely on data to make more informed decisions, target the right customers, and streamline operations.
Meanwhile, government agencies and department can depend on data to reduce costs, enhance service delivery, improve resource efficiency, and even ensure the safety of citizens.
Most importantly, in today’s technology-driven world, data is essential in driving innovation.
Be they individuals, businesses, or governments, this can mean introducing new products, services or systems that create commercial and/or social value for end users, within organisations, and even across different industries.
Throughout history, innovation is recognised as a key ingredient in propelling a nation’s modernisation and digitalisation, especially with the rise of consumer culture, more patents and greater focus and support from governments in research and development (R&D).
It is why Sarawak prioritises innovation in its digital economy agenda by fostering the spirit of innovations among aspiring entrepreneurs through digital innovation hubs and youths through education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); technical and vocational education and training (TVET); and information and communications technology (ICT).
Doing so allows the State to create new opportunities and discover new resources capable of modernising economic sectors, accelerating economic growth and even elevating the people’s livelihood.
A Key Lever in Achieving Sarawak’s Aspiration
Data and innovation are one of five key levers outlined by Premier of Sarawak, YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg in achieving Sarawak’s aspiration in becoming an advanced nation through digital technology by 2030.
“Moving forward, we will innovate using data to increase productivity, develop high value products, improve safety and environmental conservation,” he says, adding that the Sarawak Government remains committed in investing in R&D.
To further drive physical and socio-economic development and competitiveness, the Government is prepared to intensify its digital economy agenda across the State’s economic sectors through its environmentally sustainable data centre and innovation capacity.
“The enhanced capacity will be further supported by ever growing need of digital services such as Digital ID, Digital Wallet, Big Data, Blockchain, Fintech, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence,” the Premier of Sarawak describes.
Additionally, the adoption of digital technology and innovation will be accelerated in key areas such as commercial agriculture and mining to enhance productivity level, develop high value products and services, and ensure sustainability.
It will also be applicable to the Government’s service delivery, where existing services will be digitised to improve efficiency and be on par with those in developed countries.