Tap OBOR opportunities and potential to internationalise Sarawak for Sarawakians

This was five years ago …
Sarawak Tourism Board wins gold international travel award
THE Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has done the State proud by winning the gold prize at the Das Goldene Stadttor (Golden City Gate) Award at International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin travel show in Germany.  STB won the award for its ‘Where Adventure Lives’ print campaign. The award honours the best creative campaign of the global tourism industry every year. Yup, Sarawak’s campaign was judged the best in the world!
It was conceptualised and created by Integrated Strategic Communications — STB’s creative agency.

Tap OBOR opportunities and potential to internationalise Sarawak for Sarawakians

KUALA LUMPUR (October 2017): For three consecutive days (Oct 7, 8 and 9, 2017), Sarawak’s Borneo Post Online posted stories that highlighted a single and common factor - the digital world and economy.

In an exclusive interview with I Love Malaysia-China Silk Road, Malaysia-China Silk Road Business Chamber president (Tan Sri) Ong Tee Keat said the mission and vision of the state led by Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg was on the right track.

“Digitalising Sarawak’s economy and services is the way to go for such a huge state blessed with rich customs and cultures. In fact, digitalising the state is not enough.

“Sarawak has yet to fully tap its tourism industry. It is not only rich in customs and cultures to attract foreign tourists, it has also yet to fully tap its agro-tourism potential.

“Sarawakians need to regularly come up with innovative ideas and packages to boost its massive tourism potential. They also need to implement the right and effective digital platforms to reach out to the world,” he added.

Speaking from his experience as a former federal Transport Minister of Malaysia, Ong said he pioneered the opening of the skies for direct international flights to East Malaysia.

“Unfortunately, there was much resistence, accusations and attacks that I was trying to undermine or dehub Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“I still ask, why must all international flights land in KLIA? Why inconvenience foreign tourists with connecting flights?” he asked.
Ong said in his business expeditions as the chamber president, “I have been harping on the need for more direct flights to states like Sabah and Sarawak”.

“In all my meetings with China’s multi-billion-dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative tourism industry players, they lamented the difficulty in packaging tours to Sarawak.

“They arrive in KLIA at midnight and are forced to spend a night in Kuala Lumpur to catch a connecting flight to Sarawak. This is a real problem that is affecting Sarawak’s tourism industry,” he added.

Now that Sarawak has pulled out of Malaysia’s Tourism Board (MTB), Ong said the state must make full use of its autonomous administrative powers to tap the mammoth potential of the state’s tourism industry.

“The networking and marketing strategies must be fast, right and effective. Gone are the days when we can sell our tourist products by staging expositions in foreign countries.

“That’s not only costly but ineffective in the 21st Century digital era. A two-prong strategy, using cyberspace marketing and the networking of established non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is recommended.

“The reach to the rest of the world is limitless, borderless and at lightning speed,” Ong said.

For one, Ong said, Sarawak could leverage on the fast growing OBOR that covered Greater China, comprising mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

“Through such networking efforts, trans-border joint-ventures can be forged for mutual benefits,” he added.

The following are the three Borneo Post Online news reports:

"Help us change Sarawak for the better – Abang Johari

October 7, 2017, Saturday Saiful Bahari, reporters@theborneopost.com

A member of the public asks a question during the town hall session.

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg called for Sarawakians to rally behind him and the state government to elevate the state to greater heights.

Abang Johari said measures and policies will be introduced to help change Sarawak for the better.

“All measures that we introduced are meant to benefit Sarawak. For example Petros, Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) and investing RM1 billion to improve the ICT infrastructure in the state,” he said at the townhall session with Sarawakians in West Malaysia at the Lan Berambeh programme held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here today.

“We will from time to time look into other issues as well,” adding that these policies and measures were all meant to have Sarawakian as the custodian.

Abang Johari talking to the crowd during the townhall session.
On transportation, Abang Johari said the state government was looking into the possibility of being the first state to introduce green technology for the Light Railway Transit project which will connect Kuching, Serian and Bau.

“All this comes with the need for Sarawakians to be ready to embrace change,” he said.

Abang Johari also revealed that a new act ‘The Sarawak Multimedia Authority’ will be tabled at the next State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in December, while the state is looking at using DBOS to repair 260 schools in rural areas in the next two years.

On another matter, Abang Johari revealed that he had the proposed a list of BN candidates for all 14 parliamentary seats when asked by a reporter after the townhall session.

“Yes, I have seen the list and we will let Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak decide,” said Abang Johari who also refused to reveal the names on the candidate list.

The townhall session opens the floor for Sarawakians in Peninsular Malaysia to pose questions to the chief minister and has been among the highlight of the Lan Berambeh programme since it was first held 10 years ago.

‘Abg Jo has brought Sarawak to another level with his vision’

October 9, 2017, Monday Saiful Bahari, reporters@theborneopost.com
Uggah launches the 10th Lan Berambeh. From left are Rohani, Dr Sim, Entulu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, and Riot (behind).
KUALA LUMPUR: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has brought Sarawak to another level with his vision, which focuses on digitalising the state and empowering the economy through information communication technology (ICT).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Abang Johari has achieved many goals in his 10 months leading the state following the passing of Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

“Sarawak looks at improving its connectivity, and we are building more telecommunication towers, improving fibre optic lines for internet as fast as four terabyte and many more,” Uggah said when opening Lan Berambeh at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Saturday.

“An estimated RM1 billion has been allocated to further improve the ICT infrastructure and the state government is also setting up incubators for start-up companies to venture into ICT-based businesses.”

Uggah said the state government also acquired Bakun Dam from the federal government, and is setting up its own development bank and oil and gas company.

“All these efforts will bring the state to a higher level, as we look into empowering the people through better opportunities all around,” he said.

The annual Lan Berambeh for Sarawakians in Peninsular Malaysia allows the state’s leaders to meet with the people here to inform them of policies and development efforts for the state.

Earlier, Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman moderated a discussion with Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Datuk Anthony Nogeh Gumbek; Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem; Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk

Seri Rohani Abdul Karim; Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun; and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Education must focus on digital economy – CM

October 8, 2017, Sunday Othman Ishak, reporters@theborneopost.com

Taib (right) presents Abang Johari with his honorary doctorate.

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.

“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 Sarawak’s (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 Taib’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma’ani 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."