Allocate digitalisation budget to Sarawak

Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING: A hefty portion of the RM56 billion budget to improve telecommunications infrastructure nationwide must be allocated to Sarawak, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan.

“As one of the biggest contributors to national coffers, Sarawak deserves a bigger share of the budget. Therefore, I would like to know what Sarawak will get out of this digital economy initiative.

“I hope our elected people representatives will fight for Sarawak’s share,” she said when contacted today (Feb 20).

Kho said while the initiative by the federal government announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is welcome news, Sarawak must be a main benefactor of the initiatives.

“Half of the RM56 billion will go to the expanding of fixed fibre optic internet coverage. Sarawak with its size and location faces the biggest geographical challenge in term of implementing digital connectivity, especially in rural areas,” she said.

On the move to tap large IT companies to develop and manage hyper scale data centres in Malaysia, Kho said Sarawak should be among the locations for its installation.

“As most of us in the IT field would know, the big cloud server providers are in a race to reduce carbon footprint and claim green energy credit for their data centre.

“Therefore I would like to propose that these private partners consider Sarawak as one of the hosts for their data centres,” she said.

Kho said there is also an incentive for the large companies to set up shop in Sarawak with the state’s emphasis on renewable energy.

“Seventy-five percent of Sarawak’s current power is derived from renewable energy and with the Baleh hydroelectric expected to be commissioned by 2025, Sarawak has more renewable and cheaper power to offer than any other states in Malaysia.

“With hydrogen research underway, Sarawak definitely offers more options to these cloud players in terms of green energy selection in the long run,” she said.