Fair and sustainable wealth and prosperity for all

Abang Johari officiating at Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Virtual Sarawak Financial Awareness Campaign (ViSFA).

KUCHING: The Sarawak government wants to see the state achieve developed status by 2030, with its economic growth driven by data and innovation.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said by then, everyone would enjoy economic prosperity, social inclusion and a sustainable environment.

“In achieving this vision, it is not only about economic growth alone, but also about wealth and prosperity in a fair and sustainable manner for all Sarawakians,” he said when officiating at Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Virtual Sarawak Financial Awareness Campaign (ViSFA) on Tuesday (Aug 3).

In preparation to achieve its vision, he said the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC) was formed on May 6 last year to formulate the state’s post-Covid-19 economic strategy.

“Recently, on Sarawak Day, I launched the strategy to expand the state’s economy from RM136 billion in 2019 to RM282 billion in 2030.

“In addition, the plan aims to provide 195,000 new jobs, increase average household income to RM15,000, reduce the gap between the urban and rural areas, as well as improve work efficiency and productivity through digital innovation.”

On Sarawak’s digital economy aspiration, Abang Johari said the state’s post-Covid-19 economic growth would be driven by data and innovation as the digital economy was key to achieving the 2030 agenda.

“The Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy (2018- 2022), which was launched in 2017, outlined seven key sectors as catalyst to the digital economy agenda, including e-commerce and digital government.”

He said to encourage Sarawakians, whether individuals or businesses, to have a safer and more efficient digital payment, the e-wallet known as Sarawak Pay was thus introduced in 2017, now also used to channel assistance such as the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS).

“As of September, last year, Sarawak Pay has recorded a total of 13.789 million transactions worth RM588 million since its introduction in Nov 2017. The app has also registered a total of 443,396 users and 64,254 merchants in the same period

“Sarawak Pay can also be used for overseas payments where the UnionPay QR code is used.”

In addition, Abang Johari said the state government introduced a “single-sign-on” platform for all state government agencies, which allowed users to use a unique digital identity ‘Sarawak ID’ to access all government services such as business registration, business license payment and so on.

On another note, he said the remaining 116 telecommunication towers under the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) 300 telecommunication tower initiative were expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

“Presently, under the same initiative, 184 telecommunication towers have been completed.”

He said this was among the strategic measures to reduce the digital divide between the rural and urban population.

“At the national level, SMA and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have agreed in principle on the urgent need to speed up broadband connectivity in the rural areas in Sarawak.”

Abang Johari said the launch of the additional SMA300 Phase 2 was still in the planning stage.

“However, upon completion, the 600 communication towers will complement the existing National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (Jendela), an initiative by the federal government which includes 636 new towers.”

On the same note, Abang Johari urged Sarawakians to take part in the ViSFA campaign, aimed to educate and raise awareness and knowledge on protection, consumer education and financial inclusion.

The campaign, which runs until October this year, also aims to discuss financial issues and concepts that are often misinterpreted by the public.