e-residency concept under study

Morshidi speaking during the panel discussion session. (Photo: UKAS)

KUCHING: The Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) is studying the e-residency concept, which allows digital entrepreneurs to manage their business from anywhere.

“This is an area which could be way to increase and catapult our economic growth,” said its chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani during a panel discussion session at the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (Idecs) 2020 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

He said that through this concept, Estonia had managed to register 6,000 new entrepreneurs who were offshore but had their businesses operating in Estonia.

“A lot of countries are adopting this concept now. Basically, you operate your business virtually – you are not in Estonia but your business is. As such it is governed by the regulations of Estonia and also subject to their tax.”

He hoped the state government would consider this concept once SDEC had more details on how this could be operationalised in Sarawak.

On the matter of how to increase the uptake of digital technology in the private sector, he said that there were about 40,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak and the state was targeting for at least 50 per cent of them to utilise digital technology in their business.

At the same time, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) board member proposed for Sarawak to open its doors to digital nomads as an interim measure to fill the state’s digital talent gap.

Morshidi explained that these location-independent entrepreneurs and programmers visited all parts of the world and they could use their programme skills to help industries at each place they stopped at.

“These people are actually already here in some places in Sarawak.”

He suggested for these digital nomads to be provided an extended visa for their stay here, for six months to a year.

At the same time, he said that it was important for Sarawak to have many initiatives and interventions to attract investments into the state, which entrepreneurs and merchants here could benefit from.

He said that one such initiative was digital government, as investors and private sector players required efficient services.

Morshidi also emphasised digital connectivity infrastructure, digital inclusivity, and digital talent development as the basic foundation for Sarawak’s digital economy to be achieved by 2030.