DUN passes Sarawak Multimedia Authority Bill

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

KUCHING, Nov 8: The Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) Bill has been tabled and passed in the State Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister chairing the authority to lead the state towards the digital economy.

SMA also includes three ex officio members namely, the State Secretary, the State Attorney-General and the State Financial Secretary, and not less than five and not more than seven other members with the right credentials, expertise and experience in the various fields of information technology.

This Bill also provides the appointment of a General Manager who shall be responsible for the administration and management of the SMA and shall also be the Secretary to the SMA.

SMA is to spearhead the state’s digital economy including the development of digital infrastructure, cyber security, talent development, e-commerce, research and development in digital technology, digital innovation and entrepreneurship and digital government in the state.

Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is seen speaking in the State Legislative Assembly in this screengrab.

Minister for International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, in response to many queries raised while tabling the bill, clarified that SMA does not encroach in jurisdiction with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) but it complements MCMC.

“The SMA regulatory powers are derived from existing state laws as well as future laws to be enacted in accordance with the constitutional provisions.

“The proposed new law would not contravene any federal law regulating telecommunications or multimedia which is a federal power,” he added.

This Bill’s primary objective is to establish a body that would enable the government to achieve its mission of transforming the state into a digital economy which will spur economic growth by adopting better means of business processes through systems such as e–payment through ‘Sarawak Pay’ and e-commence.

Central to the attainment of the objectives of this transformation mission is to ensure that telecommunication networks, system capacity and infrastructure are not only adequate and have a state-wide coverage but also they use the most advanced technologies in terms of speed, reliability and quality.

Among the powers listed in the Bill are appointing advisors, incorporation of companies or entering into any joint ventures for the purposes of this Bill, as well as approval of any applications for communication towers. — DayakDaily