Sarawak wants share of telecommunications levy collections

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is asking for its share of levies collected by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said he had negotiated the matter with the federal government to get it to share with Sarawak, the levies it had collected.

“The money will be used to fund the state’s communications and digital development on top of our own budget,” he said when officiating at the launching of the 1st Sarawak Centexs-SDEC 5G Test Pad and Huawei Advanced Training Programme on OpenLab Augmented Virtual Reality (AVR) Training Lab, here, today.

According to him, Sarawak is moving towards becoming a digital hub in this region in 10 years’ time.

“It could even take the state less than 10 years to attain the status of a digital hub and smart city as we have already implemented some of the infrastructure and have the resources needed for the purpose,” he said.

Abang Johari said under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the state government would allocate more funds for talents development after it had spent a substantial amount to build roads and develop the state’s power resources, adding that the next step would be upgrading the cyber connectivity including 5G in the urban areas.

He said Centexs Academy, through its collaboration with Huawei Technology and Eon Reality, would be able to train more young Sarawakians in technical, digital and heritage skills to meet the demand and the state’s initiative towards becoming a developed state by 2030.

Touching on Sarawak’s digital initiatives, he said the 5G digital test pad, the first to be launched in Malaysia, is a technology to accelerate the speed from one device to another device to enable very fast connectivity in real time.

While there were certain quarters claiming him to be too ambitious, Abang Johari said Sarawak could not afford to be left out as all economic activities these days required digital applications with big data to drive all economic sectors.

“Sarawak is fortunate because it has abundance of resources which could be developed to give economic returns, but we need to develop the right human talents to turn towards a digital-driven economy,” he added.