By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Aug 29: With the world hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, limiting and restricting physical movement within and between countries, information technology (IT) became a major savior to the community for continuation of income-generating and economic activities.
Acknowledging that the digital economy has become the leading catalyst in sustaining a nation’s economy globally, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said with the help of IT and various digital applications, businesses from big to small could still be widely carried out.
“A single mother in Dalat, for example, with new determination has been able to market her mini murtabak to Bintulu through the WhatsApp application.
“Similarly, a mother who supports a disabled child can carry out her responsibilities in producing Belangga sago, which is also marketed through digital applications,” she said, citing that there are many more examples of women leveraging on IT to make their livelihoods.
“Even ordering of raw materials, cooked food or learning new recipes has been widely carried out. Therefore I strongly encourage our women to embark into IT and make use of it,” she said at the Sarawak Women’s Day 2020 celebration in Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), today.
At the same time, the ministry is planning to embark on a comprehensive digital transformation journey by integrating all the ministry’s past and new services onto the online platform iSarawakCare which was launched in March this year.
“This is to improve service delivery and to reach out to more Sarawakians. The components of the iSarawakCare platform will allow integration between the relevant state agencies, businesses, and community on all kind of welfare assistance and social services.
“This platform will provide easy access to the people to communicate with us and apply the relevant assistance required anytime, anywhere,” she emphasised.
This initiative she said, will improve the efficiency of citizen transactions, reducing travel and waiting time as the response time will be in real time, and avoiding out-of-pocket transport and postage costs especially for those in the rural areas.
Through the iSarawakCare platform, Fatimah pointed that Sarawakians will be able to complete transactions online at a time and place that suits them best – whether in their living room on a tablet, on their phone in the bus, or during their lunch break.
“We will implement this effort with the Sarawak Multimedia Authority and I hope that this noble effort will get the consideration and approval of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. I can assure you, this initiative will make our services closer to the people as it will ‘Merakyatkan Kebajikan and this is very much welcomed by our rakyat,” she said.
Meanwhile, every year in conjunction with the state level Women’s Day Celebration, the ministry has also include the Women’s Figure Award (Tokoh Wanita) in recognition of the State Government for the contribution of Sarawak women in various fields, either based on individual excellence or associations and organizations.
In pointing this out, Fatimah also said the theme ‘Sarawak Women in Digital Era’ was ‘symbolically preparing Sarawakian women for Industrial Revolution 4.0’.
This year’s Tokoh Wanita Sarawak awards were presented to Mary Tay Siew Geok (Chief Minister’s Award -Woman Social Activist), Kansar Karar (Chief Minister’s Award – Woman Entrepreneur), Datuk Norhyati Mohd Ismail (Chief Minister’s Award – Woman Leadership), Dr Rashidah Bolhassan (Chief Minister’s Award – Special Achievement in Digital), Purple Lily Association (Outstanding Women Organisation Award) and Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim (Datuk Patinggi Laila Taib Award).—DayakDaily