SIBU: The education sector must have long-term plans that focus on digital capability, innovation and creativity to ensure Sarawak can leapfrog from a conventional to a digital economy.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg encouraged young Sarawakians to take up courses and entrepreneurship opportunities related to the digital economy.
Taib (right) presents Abang Johari with his honorary doctorate.
The convergence of advanced communication technology, energy systems and automation is driving change in all spheres, including businesses. Today, the Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution is now a global phenomenon. The only way for industries to compete in the future is by embracing technologies that are often very disruptive, he said during University College of Technology Sarawaks (UCTS) second convocation yesterday.
He cited Estonia, which has embraced digital technology to totally transform its economy as well as government services.
We will soon launch our own e-payment system called SarawakPay and we hope this will provide a platform for many forms of transactions. Estonia even has things like e-citizen, which allows you to be a citizen of the country and do business there without your physical presence there. This shows how bold and innovative their ideas are, which have made them successful in a relatively short period of time.
This is the direction that Sarawak will take. The old economic development model cannot bring Sarawak to the forefront of digital development that the whole world is trying to arrive at. We cannot wait for others to tell us what to do and we cannot wait for help to come our way. We have to decide our own destiny, he added.
Abang Johari noted that UCTS already offers programmes such as Software Engineering and Network Computing, and is researching Cybersecurity and Drone Technology.
He called for UCTS to establish smart partnerships with industry.
Sibu is the hub for our resource-based industries. We have major companies having their headquarters in Sibu such as RH, WTK, KTS and Ta Ann and other industries.
Therefore, I would like to propose that UCTS establish a Wood Technology Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and Sarawak Timber Association (STA), that support our timber industries to develop more innovative downstream wood products for the world market, he added.
Abang Johari also called on the timber industry to undertake research and move into planted forests.
The Centre of Excellence can undertake research and support the introduction of new technologies and advanced processes in our timber industry from planted forests for it to be sustainable and continue to be a major economy in Sarawak alongside many others, he said.
Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is UCTS chancellor, also conferred an honorary doctorate on the Chief Minister.
Among those present were Taibs wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Abang Joharis wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jumaani Bujang, UCTS council chairman and Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and his wife Datin Sri Pauline Leong, Assistant Minister of E-Commerce Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and UCTS vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Hakim Juri.
A total of 198 students from seven programmes graduated with the Bachelor of Quantity Surveying (Hons) 48; Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Architecture 31; Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) 70; Bachelor of Accountancy (Hons) eight; Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) 24, Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic 14; and Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Hons) three.
(From front right) Abang Johari is seen with Wong and others at the convocation.
The Borneo Post Online