Digital transformation inevitable, accelerated by Covid-19 — Abang Johari

Abang Johari gives his views on how Sarawak will move forward post-Covid-19. Screenshot used with permission.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 9: For all the uncertainty about what the future will look like following the Covid-19 pandemic which has disrupted every aspect of economy and society, it is clear already that it will be digital.

Highlighting this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the Covid-19 outbreak has forced acceleration in digital transformation.

“We know very well that the next 10 to 15 years, I think the key is digitalisation.

“We (Sarawak) are lucky to have started digital transformation and awareness in Sarawak three years ago and thus embedded the (digital) culture.

“Some who were skeptical before now know the importance of technology that even fishermen have shifted their business online.

“This also changed the mode of transaction — no longer physical contact but online or e-commerce,” he said during the “Post-Covid-19: Sarawak The New Normal” webinar organised by Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) today.

The state government, he added, has to invest quite a substantial amount of funds to support the digital development especially in infrastructure.

This also applies to the civil service sector in Sarawak which Abang Johari pointed out must be empowered with digital skills to make public service more efficient and effective so as to meet citizens’ rising expectations.

“When I took the helm of the state, I wanted the civil servants to know technology. It is the key now.

“Looking at the tier structure of the public service organisation, all levels of administrations should be connected so that information exchange can take place immediately online to solve problems and find solutions.

“I also want my ministers to be trained in this line so that all departments can complement each other using digital language including with the private sector. Else, there will be a gap,” he said.

As Sarawak moves forward, Abang Johari reiterated that environmental sustainability will be one of the core principles in developing the state with inclusivity, noting that the Covid-19 public health emergency is related to the environment in which Sarawak is blessed with abundance of natural resources.

He stressed the need to enhance Sarawak’s environment and transform various economic activities like agriculture using the latest technology like IoT (Internet Of Things) to increase productivity and production.

“It has to be inclusive as there must be connectivity between urban and rural (areas). With urban (areas) being the financial centre, the rural (areas) must be transformed into the source for all products using technology. This is what we are going to do in the next five to 10 years.

“We need to enhance our logistics sector as well including air cargo because logistic, digital connectivity, e-commerce and production chain, these are part and parcel of inclusivity to get people to play their part post-Covid-19,” he added. — DayakDaily