Opposition: IT experts should lead digital economy efforts, not politicians

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

KUCHING, Nov 8: The state government should appoint information technology (IT) experts to lead the development of the digital economy locally instead of appointing politicians in Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), said Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei.

He said that it was totally illogical to appoint Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as SMA chairman, whose role is to advise the state government on digital economy matters.

“Same person advising himself? SMA can then set up an advisory panel… this is not making sense, this is not logical,” he said while debating the SMA Bill at the State Legislative Assembly sitting today.

“Are we serious about e-commerce? This is a joke for this bill to be tabled. If we are serious, get an expert, don’t pretend to be an expert,” he said, while proposing the bill be amended.

The SMA will be chaired by the Chief Minister as the chairman and include 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 IT.

One of the principle responsibilities of the new authority’s functions is to advise the state government on all matters, both policy and implementation, for the development of a state digital economy, including the development of digital infrastructure, cyber security, talent development, e-commerce, research and development in digital technology, digital innovation and digital government.

Meanwhile, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong also expressed her concerns that SMA would be used as a smoke screen to enrich cronies.

Using SACOFA as an example, Yong said SACOFA was set up using government funds, but was later privatized and sold to CMS below market price.

She said that the people wanted uninterrupted fast speed Internet but it would be a waster of government money if the cronies were to benefit instead of the people. — DayakDaily