Dr. Hj. Abdul Rahman Junaidi (standing centre) officiating at the event.
Dr. Hj. Abdul Rahman Junaidi (standing centre) officiating at the event.

KUCHING: SACOFA Sdn Bhd (Sacofa), Sarawak’s own telecommunications infrastructure company, yesterday took another step closer towards bridging the digital divide in the state by launching its SACOFA4U Community Outreach Programme for Kampung Pulau Salak near Kuching, Sarawak. 

The Corporate Social Responsibility Programme is in addition to the three-legged tower which was completed late last year. The entire programme is a collaboration with REDtone International Bhd and Tejas Networks Ltd. SACOFA also collaborated with University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) to implement the Digital Economy Initiative via two workshops; namely, “Scratch Programming for Kids” and “Introduction to Business and Digital World” on 31 March and 1 April 2018 at Sekolah Kebangsaan Salak.

Zaid Zaini, Managing Director, SACOFA Sdn Bhd, said: “I am pleased to announce that Kampung Pulau Salak is now equipped with telecommunications infrastructure and technology which puts it on par with other connected rural areas in Malaysia. The construction of the telecommunications tower and the launch of our SACOFA4U Community Outreach Programme have ushered in a new era for the local community.

“This historical moment will certainly bring great opportunities to the local residents especially teachers, students, and entrepreneurs. They are now in a better position to raise their standard of living in terms of economic and social development.

“I wish to express my appreciation and thanks to REDtone for their contribution in this collaboration with SACOFA by providing Time-Division Duplexing LTE spectrum; and to Tejas Networks for their commitment by providing LTE equipment that enables the provision of the state-of-the-art technology. As a result of this collaboration, local residents are now able to connect to the Internet and be in a better position to improve their standard of living,” Zaid said at the launching ceremony.

“SACOFA4U’s main objective of providing telecommunications infrastructure to facilitate connectivity is consistent with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr Haji Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Abang Haji Openg’s vision of transforming Sarawak to a high-income state via the digital economy.

“Our SACOFA4U CSR programme is proving to be a key element in boosting further the overall efforts by the government to make internet access available to as many people in Sarawak as possible,” he emphasised.

To date, SACOFA4U has provided free high-speed Wi-Fi services to 10 locations and continues to expand its reach to more communities for a better-connected Sarawak. The programme covers schools, institutions of higher learning, religious places, Government buildings and public areas.

Through this programme SACOFA is empowering geographically-isolated communities by providing free wireless digital connectivity, consistent with the State Government’s vision for Sarawak, where all sections of society can realise the benefits.

The ceremony was officiated by YB Dr. Hj. Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister of Utilities Sarawak (Electricity Supply) and attended by Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, caretaker Minister of Natural Resources and Environment; senior figures from the telecommunications industry, Government officials, and local residents.

Kampung Pulau Salak which is accessible by a 20-minute boat ride from the Sungai Daun jetty in Pasir Pandak Santubong, is home to a small fishing community benefitting from the recently-connected electricity supply in October 2013, and subsequently a treated water supply in June 2017.

The SACOFA4U community outreach programme’s primary goal is to bridge the digital divide and develop an e-knowledge society, promote human capital development in Sarawak, stimulate innovation and creativity in the telecommunications technology industry and to reinforce Government, community and industry efforts towards an ICT literate society.