MCMC and SMA working together to improve state digital connectivity

Abang Johari (third left) looking at a monitor at one of the booths at IDECS 2019 together with his Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (third right), Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (left) and SAINS Chairman Tan Sri Dr George Chan (second left).

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, July 8: The state government and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has set up a special working committee to cooperate in improving the state’s digital and communications infrastructure.

MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said he had a meeting with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg earlier and the latter welcomed the cooperation with open arms as this could bolster the state’s Digital Economy strategy.

“Today we are at the basic stage of ensuring the working aspect between MCMC and the state government through the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA). I attended a meeting with the Chief Minister and he welcomed the cooperation with MCMC through SMA.

MCMC Chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak.

“We have set up a working committee where we want to see the investment we have made on the cellular towers from our Universal Service Provision (USP) fund and the state government’s fund.

“This is so that we can coordinate the effort so as not to overlap with each other so that with the limited financial resources that we have we can go a longer way,” he told reporters after the launch of the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) 2019 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here this afternoon.

He said cooperation and pooling all the financial resources together would be key to accelerating efforts to improve digital connectivity and its infrastructure in the state because despite having about 113 per cent Internet penetration for its close to 3 million population, the quality of Internet services was still not quite satisfying.

He said even driving out of Kuching City for just an hour, certain areas would not have mobile coverage. This, he said, was due to the mountainous terrain of Sarawak.

“So for certain areas we are looking at improving the basic coverage. For areas that already have coverage, we have to improve the quality and speed,” said Al-Ishsal.

“For example, in smart cities where thousands and even millions of devices are connected, we need to have a solid high quality network that is secure. This is something we MCMC and the state government will need to work on.

“Sarawak is very welcoming and moving ahead very well. Both the state government and MCMC know that we want to do better together,” he said.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Earlier during the IDECS 2019 launching ceremony, Abang Johari said the state government will be witnessing the signing of 10 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between SMA and various international partners to accelerate the state’s Digital Economy journey.

He said these partners will be assisting the state government in the Open Lab to explore and research new digital initiatives to support the state’s Digital Economy initiative.

“There will also be one Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) exchange between Sacofa (Sacofa Sdn Bhd) and Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd of Brunei Darussalam relating to providing high-speed retail Internet services in Sarawak, and one MoU exchange between Sacofa and XPERANTI on partnership for provision of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari in his speech.

Dr Michio Kaku

World renowned futurist and scientist Dr Michio Kaku also delivered a talk on technology advancement in the future, giving his point of view and a glimpse of what kind of technologies will come up in 10 to 50 years from now. — DayakDaily