Innovation the way forward

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

MIRI: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has emphasised the need to encourage and promote innovation to prepare Sarawak’s society to respond to global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Research and development (R&D), particularly in digital technologies and biodiversity, is one of the focus areas in our efforts to develop indigenous products which have potential economic value for commercialisation,” he said.

His text-of-speech was read by Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin at the closing ceremony of the two-day Greater Miri Development Master Plan Lab 2020 at Pullman Miri Waterfront Hotel here yesterday.

In Miri, he said the state government had developed the now operational Biovalley Park. He hoped that the park would be a quantum leap in R&D and knowledge accumulation, especially in Miri Division to meet the state’s development agenda.

He said the government would also continue to encourage more people to venture into business to uplift their socioeconomic wellbeing and spur the growth of the local economy.

“For this purpose, we have built seven innovation hubs that provide mentorship, support, guidance and innovation-focused entrepreneurial programmes to Sarawakian start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the state.

“In Miri, we have the SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hub at Miri Times Square in Marina ParkCity,” Abang Johari said, urging the people of Miri to make full use of such facilities to nurture young talents and create innovation for their socio-economic betterment.

He said the state’s priority to pursue and adopt digital technology in its development strategy is a way to move forward and make Sarawak’s economy more globally competitive to penetrate global markets.

“Through the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), the government has embarked on the development of 300 telecommunication towers to enhance our internet connectivity, including in the rural areas of Miri Division.

“With improved internet connectivity, I hope our people will be able to participate actively in the digital economy,” he said.

He said that Miri City would continue to be developed to serve the growing economic activities and to meet the high expectation of foreign expatriates, adding that it is important for Miri to embark on its transformation as a smart city to prepare for sustainable growth in the future.

Abang Johari added that the state government had embarked on the construction of Miri’s smart city infrastructures, namely Wireless Walk, Handicraft Centre, Taman Bulatan and City Fan.