Two more years to faster Internet - Randau Sarawak


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Two more years to faster Internet

Sarawakians may have to wait for at least two more years before they can begin to enjoy faster Internet speed.The high speed will come but not until all the facilities and infrastructure are put in place.Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said they would first have to table the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) at the State Legislative Assembly sitting in November.

He said SMA would regulate all the activities and factors that would move Sarawak towards the future in terms of the digital economy.

“After the SMA is passed in the November sitting, it will be a question of action.

“So may be in the next few years, we will begin to roll out high Internet speed in phases starting from the city areas,” he told reporters after a dialogue session with industry and business leaders on Sarawak digital economy at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.

Abang Johari said the state government was serious in improving and upgrading Internet speed in Sarawak.

The state government, he added, had allocated funds to do this and at the same time it would be interfacing with the federal authorities so that they could also provide funds for the state to build the infrastructure.

He said the state government was taking the initiative to lead in the development of high speed infrastructure.

“We are going to establish our own gateway and our Internet infrastructure together with our neighbours Indonesia and Brunei. This is being discussed between us,” he said.

The chief minister said the state government was also fully committed to reduce the digital divide between rural and urban areas.

He said the digital economy transcended borders and areas and therefore, it would be an enabler for the state government to close the gap between rural and urban areas.

“Definitely for rural area, we will have to see the population demography. If the population is centred, say in Betong where the Internet is available in Sadok, and in Sarikei where the Internet is available at the halal hub in Kuala Rajang, then we have to upgrade the speed in those particular areas.

“If the population is very sparse, especially in the remote areas, then we have to find option on how to connect them with us. But it must be by phases and that is where we have to find certain model,” he said.

Abang Johari added that China actually was a model because they first developed the south before going to the northern part.

He said Sarawak could use that model, focusing on the central urban area first.

“We even want to identify urban precision farming, very suburban areas near towns in Sarawak because there is a market.

“So in terms of logistic it will be cheaper and nearer to our collection centres for us to export our produce overseas.

“That is how we want to close the gap; to increase the income of the rural people,” he said.
The chief minister also said Sarawakians could create services using the internet.

He believed there are many young and talented Sarawakians out there, who might use their products – seamless product, product that is out of their own creativity and innovation – through their own application.

He said because of that the state government had set up the innovation hub – at iCom Square in Kuching, and at Sarikei Innovation Centre in Sarikei.

“We are going to launch similar hubs in other places such as Betong, Bintulu, Miri, Limbang and Lawas.

“These hubs will be connected to our digital village; entrepreneurs who are successful  can connect local products to the world market.

“Because of that, I think the private sector is very excited with our digital economy move and they are willing to collaborate and help us to realise it,” he said.

Deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Second Minister of Finance Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, State Secretary Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol were also present at the press conference.
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