State keen to collaborate with Finns in digital sphere

Birch forest in Finland. - file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

HELSINKI: The Finnish digital expertise could become a common platform of collaboration between Finland and Sarawak that could later be expanded to peat soil studies since both Finland and Sarawak have considerable peat cover.

According to a statement, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has requested for the Finland authorities to make the tools available in English to share with Sarawak.

“I would like to have the tools be made available to us in English so that we can share in their expertise,” said Abang Johari who is also Urban Development and Natural Resources Minister yesterday.

He told the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppa that any co-operation between Finland and Sarawak should be made on a direct basis with the Sarawak state government as the authority over forest and land are state matters.

He pointed out that that such co-operation was vital for Sarawak with a view to eventually achieve compliance with global standards on sustainability, in the palm oil industry in particular.

“As Finland is an important member of the European Union and Sarawak being a part of Asean, this kind of common platform of understanding can lead to meaningful co-operation between countries in the northern hemisphere and those near the Equator,” the Chief Minister said.

Abang Johari, who arrived here yesterday morning for the start of a fortnight-long study visit to Europe, said he was highly impressed with the use of digital tools to manage the forest industry in Finland.

Such tools which entail widespread information sharing digitally between the stakeholders could be useful for Sarawak’s forest industry development as part of the effort to digitise the state’s economy, he said when giving a return address to thank Leppa at his ministry’s office here this morning.

The meeting with Leppa was preceded by briefings on the overview of the ministry, forest policy of Finland, sustainable forest management, sustainable management of acacia plantation and digital tools for forest management given by officials of the ministry.

The digital tools have been significant for forest management in Finland which has a considerable number of smallholdings to support the national forest industry of the northern European country.

Later, the delegation travelled to the Hyytiala Forest Station which is three hours drive away to the north of the Finnish capital.

Members of the entourage include Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh.

Another team from the delegation was sent to gain insight into ‘sauna startup’ which is basically an informal meeting centre equivalent to Sarawak’s newly set up digital innovation hubs in Kuching and Sarikei.