Abang Johari advocates masterplan to chart state’s expansion into e-commerce

Naroden (third right) together with (from left) Kameri, Len Talif, Dr Jerip, Malcolm, Sabariah and John give their thumbs up after unveiling the packaging at the opening ceremony of Sarawak eCommerce Forum 2019.

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KUCHING, Oct 15: A Sarawak e-commerce masterplan needs to be developed to provide clear direction in the state’s quest to assist enterpreneurs and the people of Sarawak to be successful in the e-commerce industry.

In proposing this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that in 2018, Sarawakians spent about RM19.42 million through online platforms like Zalora, Lelong.com and Qoo10.

“The e-commerce industry has evolved and the way forward in the foreseeable future is to harness new technologies and ways to provide value to customers and create valuable experiences for them to achieve sales.

“Henceforth, every component of the e-commerce supply chain has become an industry that is increasingly service reliant and these services are paving way for new money making opportunities with the adoption of new skills,” he added.

Abang Johari highlighted this in his text-of speech read out by Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Naroden Majais at the opening ceremony of the Sarawak e-Commerce Forum 2019 today.

The global business industry, Abang Johari pointed out, now demands skills that can create creative content such as through designing, modelling, programming and writing to create context, branding and stories.

“Many conglomerates in the creative industry including movie, automobile and modelling are outsourcing and engaging these creative services from every corner of the world, providing every creative individual with career and business opportunities that promise high income,” he noted.

The government, he assured, will continue to develop the people with skills required to tap into e-commerce opportunities.

“I am glad that the ministry is actively implementing various programmes to upskill our people to be more creative and innovative in this competitive but rewarding business,” he added.

“Throughout the years, we have discovered much potential and talented people in Sarawak, as many creative and innovative websites or online marketplaces have been developed and introduced globally.”

Naroden (third right) removing the packaging of an item ordered and instantly delivered to the event venue as part of the opening gimmick of Sarawak eCommerce Forum 2019.

This forum, Abang Johari emphasised, was very important for the state to address issues and a momentous step forward in developing the local e-commerce industry.

“The Sarawak government is investing huge amounts of money to develop ICT infrastructure, especially telecommunication towers to enhance and widen our Internet penetration in the state, which is especially essential for the e-commerce industry to be efficient.

“We also need good infrastructure and systems including accurate addresses, good transportation and logistics support to ensure that products and services can be delivered efficiently in a systematic manner,” he added.

As such, Abang Johari stressed that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is also investing heavily in building access roads to connect small towns and settlements in the rural areas.

“It will take time but as a responsible GPS government, we are committed to fulfilling this obligation. The government is aware that infrastructure, connectivity and logistics are the fundamental challenges (to be dealt with) to conduct e-commerce activities,” he observed.

However, he also emphasised that these barriers should not be an excuse for people not to get involved or participate in online businesses.

“I believe the present infrastructure and connectivity that we have in the state is sufficient enough to conduct e-commerce, as long as one is determined to make e-commerce a serious business venture as an income generator,” he added.

He cited ‘dropshipping’ as an example where local infrastructure and logistics support are not really necessary for it to be successful.

“Dropshipping is a form of e-commerce business model where you earn an income just by hosting a market platform to promote niche products to customers in Europe and the products are sourced from China. All the product packaging, transportation and last mile delivery to the customers in Europe are done and arranged by the companies in China,” he shared.

He reiterated that this was the reason why the government allocated RM1 billion for the construction of telecommunication towers to expand Internet coverage and connectivity.

“In this way, more people especially those living in the rural areas can be involved in e-commerce activities even though they do not have their own products and are limited by access to good infrastructure and logistic supports,” he added.

Assistant Ministers Datuk Dr Jerip Susil (Transportation), Datu Len Talif Salleh (Urban Development and Resources), Datuk John Sikie (Native Laws and Customs), Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh (International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development), Deputy State Secretary Datu Dr Sabariah Putit and organising chairman Kameri Affandi were among those present. — DayakDaily