Abang Johari: Big data is Sarawak’s ‘new oil’

A screenshot of Abang Johari delivering his speech at IDECS 2022 held at BCCK today (June 21, 2022). Photo credit Ukas' Facebook livestream

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By Karen Bong & Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, June 21: Big data is the “new oil” in Sarawak that will provide economic value and drive environmental and energy sustainability, says Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said big data will play a vital role in environmental and energy sustainability which in turn will help with protecting the State’s environment and natural resources and assessing environmental risks.


“Take the Aqueduct for example. This water-risk mapping tool was designed to monitor and calculate water risks around the world, relying on big data, such as water quantity, quality, and other changing regulatory issues,” he said when speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak 2022 (IDECS 2022) held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

Abang Johari, who is also Sarawak Minister of Energy and Environmental Sustainability further said that among the many benefits of big data for sustainability are its function in the enforcement of regulatory practices around the world in keeping track of their emissions, reaching renewable energy goals as they raise standards of sustainability in all sectors.

“For example, it takes 2,000 litres of water to produce the food necessary to feed one person for a single day.

“The application of big data for agriculture is critical, given the average rate of resource consumption and growing scarcity. Big data is indispensable in managing the environmental and energy sustainability challenges and issue,” he added.

He also mentioned that big data is core to all fast-emerging digital technologies, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and all Internet-based services, and they have become a fundamental economic resource.

According to Oxford Economics, by 2025 digital economy will contribute an average 24.3 per cent or US$23 trillion to the world economy. The contribution will be driven by these frontier technologies.

He also highlighted that after the Covid-19 pandemic, cross-border data flows are a new kind of international economic flow, which lead to a new form of global interdependence. As such regulating data flows at the international level has become more urgent.

“Current regional and international regulatory frameworks tend to be either too narrow in scope or too limited geographically, failing to enable cross-border data flows with an equitable sharing of economic development gains while properly addressing risks. There is a need for new regulatory framework.

“Developing countries need to find the optimal balance between promoting domestic economic development, protecting public policy interests and integrating into the global digital ecosystem,” he emphasised. – DayakDaily