Image credit: Hornbill Unleashed

KUCHING: The Sarawak Digital Roadmap will focus on four key economic sectors – agriculture, tourism, health and education – in its step-by-step towards transforming the state’s economy.

This was highlighted by State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani during his session at the inaugural Sarawak Dialogue yesterday.

In the area of agriculture, Morshidi guided that the state would introduce the process of smart farming as one of their pilot projects in 2018.

“Our plan is basically to increase our agriculture produce so that we can increase our production and participate in the global market.

“Internet of Things (IoT) projects and online interactive supply chain management will act as a gateway to the global market for our farmers, while digital and sensor technology will be used to control and manage the farming process to achieve better and increased harvests,” he said.

In tourism, the State Secretary said he expected to roll out the ‘Sarawak portal’ soon which will act as a one-stop application or website for tourists in Sarawak to find activities, hotels, flights, restaurants and goods.

“The portal will provide tourists with an easier time navigating their way across Sarawak and Sarawak small medium enterprises (SMEs) an opportunity to advertise their businesses to a new and growing consumer group,” he explained.

“This push for more tourism is expected to help complement growth in the health sector in Sarawak as well, as the State may very well likely see more and more medical tourists in the near future.”

Before that can be achieved, Morshidi called for improvements in our current health sector to first better serve our own residents, especially those in rural areas.

“Due to Sarawak’s size, the provision of health services to those in rural areas continues to be an issue especially due to the unavailability of roads in some regions. The roadmap will improve this aspect by aiming for the integration of all health electronic services.”

The integration of such services will provide doctors with more comprehensive and easily accessible medical history of each Sarawakian and when paired with new diagnostic tech, is expected to help increase the diagnosis and the care of those in rural areas tremendously.

While it seems that Sarawak is in for a lot of changes, Morshidi added that the changes would be aided by changes in the final economic sector which is education.

“To enhance our human capital and intellectual properties, our digital roadmap has plans to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in schools and encourage upskilling and reskilling of graduates to get ready for the digital economy,” he said.

“Additionally, programmes, scholarships and loans will be provided to undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of STEM, artificial intelligence, programming, coding and so on.”

To ease our fears of change further, the digital roadmap also included efforts to implement a cyber-security monitoring centre to strengthen the critical information centre from cybercrime.

“At the end of the day, it is about the people and if they do not embrace it, and if the people are not included in our digital economy, we will not be able to achieve our plans and strategies.

“Therefore our priority is to achieve digital inclusivity to ensure that people of all walks of life are able to participate in the digital economy, learn how they can benefit from it and help our State grow and thrive.