KUCHING, Jan 30: Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing says cyber connectivity must develop together with physical connectivity.
Citing the example of a cow farm, he said while the farmers can market their products online to international buyers, they also need the physical connectivity to ship their products to their clients overseas.
“As a Minister tasked to build better infrastructure, it is my sworn duty to build infrastructure and improve on physical connectivity. Tuan Speaker, we can send photos of the cows which our farmers breed through cyberspace to buyers worldwide.
“But for them to be able to transport those cows to the buyers outside of their farms, they need physical connectivity and transportation hubs. Only when the cows they breed are transported to the buyers, will the puzzle be considered complete.
“Because of this, Tuan Speaker Sir, while the government is allocating funds to create cyber connectivity, please do not forget the funds I need for physical connectivity on the ground.
“Cyber connectivity must come together with physical connectivity.”
“They must be developed hand-in-hand; otherwise we will only create the desire for the products but having no means to satisfy those desires. The ultimate result is frustration on the part of our potential buyers,” said Masing while delivering his ministerial speech at the special sitting in conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.
Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister admitted though he was not IT savvy, he concurred with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that “we must understand the equipment used by people in the digital world and the need for us to be connected in cyberspace”.
On the related issue of rural development, he said he has been working hard to ensure the rural areas neglected in the past may be given due attention.
“At this juncture, I must admit that a lot has been done by the government to uplift the socio-economic well-being of the rural areas.
“However, there is still so much to be done in bringing meaningful development and investments to those rural pockets that were left out because of the lack of roads and other forms of infrastructure.
“These rural pockets recently connected, with meaningful investments can be pegged to food production and related sectors that will automatically serve as engines of growth for the region.
“The agenda for rural growth will therefore hinge on our ability to unlock the potential…for large scale cultivation and value-added development.
“One of the value-added developments for the area is the proposed Baleh Hydro Electric Dam which will be completed in about eight years’ time and the associated infrastructure which come along with its development.
“The formation and establishment of the Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA) is, therefore, a step by the government towards this direction in accelerating rural development and elevating the livelihood of the rural population,” said Masing who is also URDA chairman.
He further pointed out that in order to attain holistic development, social programmes and education are very much required to be implemented in tandem with infrastructure development and economic investments.
“Only then, the areas will have well-balanced and meaningful development with participation from the local population,” he said. — DayakDaily