Fri, 29 Sep 2023


Leading Sabah’s digital transformation
Published on: Sunday, January 30, 2022
By: Mohd Izham Bin Hashim
Text Size:

Yakub at a job fair in Sandakan recently.
TASKED with ushering in Sabah’s digital transformation, the State Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology (KTSI) received RM206 million for supply allocation and RM10.6m for development, in the budget proposal for 2022 out of the overall RM4.596 billion. Its Minister Datuk Yakub Khan said the amounts would be used to expedite Industry 4.0. efforts and programmes such as development of talent and skilled workforce, promoting digital innovation, digitisation of government services, training of youths and industry. 

“The State Government rolled out its state budget for 2022 with the vision of ‘Economic Recovery, Harmonious Citizens” to ensure the welfare of the people is protected, in line with the Sabah Maju Jaya roadmap which is orientated towards economic sustainability,” he said. 

Hence, the Ministry would continue efforts to enhance its role as an economic key driver, as shown through the various programmes and efforts carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic, previously.  

He said last year KTSI organised the State Science Carnival in August which was joined by over 600,000 participants. The Department of Human Resources Development conducted 181 skill courses, 47 entrepreneurship courses and three Sabah Talent Entrepreneurship Programmes (STEPs), from which the JPSM has trained 5,294 participants. 

“At the same time, the Sabah Job Portal was launched in September 2021 by the department to serve as a platform for job-seekers to find employment opportunities,” he said. JPKN also developed 44 application systems for the State Government, which included Youth Portal and Sports, i-Adu System, KTSI Dashboard to enhance the delivery of government services. 

In efforts to upgrade the state’s Information, Communication Technology (ICT), he said the Ministry provided 1,160 laptops, desktop computers and printers to 100 agencies in the State Government. 

As for intergovernmental cooperation, an agreement was reached between Sabah Net Sdn Bhd and SCENIC for the establishment of the government’s Digital Sandbox, the first endeavour of its kind in East Malaysia, according to the Sandbox Technology and Innovation (NTIS). 

“This is an important step forward and very encouraging for the Ministry to accelerate the expansion of similar programmes to other districts, apart from using NTIS to spearhead the adoption of innovation in Sabah. 

“Sandbox can be a platform for the youth to test new technological ideas with the potential to spur economic growth, enhance productivity of the public and private sector, and increase the adoption of science, technology and innovation in the state.”  

Since its establishment, the Sabah Skill and Technology Centre (SSTC) has trained 17,000 participants, including 6,000 school leaders and graduates. SSTC has been appointed a programme partner to coordinate “Skills for Prosperity” in global programme funded by the Government of the United Kingdom, helmed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). 

“This skills programme for Prosperity Malaysia gives focus to quality, suitability and job-readiness of TVET in handling mismatch of skills and industry,” he said, noting the programme was attended by 50 participants.  

In the same month, the Bosch Rexroth Cyber Training System IR4.0 or smart factory was fully operational, the third of its kind in the nation. “This machine combines the main players in industry 4.0 and with this facility, Sabah will be provided with a better grasp on technologies associated with IR4.0,” he said. 

The Ministry hopes to expedite its programmes for Sabah, in view of the more relaxed rules to Movement Control Order (MCO) and less movement restrictions. 

To cultivate the adoption of science in the community, Yakub said his Ministry would proceed with plans for a science and innovation centre at State Library buildings, beginning with its Keningau branch, and its completion is expected on 2022. 

Underlining the importance of inter-departmental cooperation, Yakub encouraged KSTI to carry out workshops on the ministry’s policies and strategic plans. “We need to broaden the adoption of technological knowledge and innovation, this is our primary goal which involves the Ministry to carry out initiatives in line with the Sabah Maju Jaya blueprint for the state,” he said. 

He said it was important for the AMC to find the best approaches to ensure trainers, KTSI staff and the government acquire “Return of Investment (ROI)” and therefore the AMC needs to make a detailed plan, and form strategic partnerships with relevant institutions to help participants get job opportunities, particularly in ICT. 

“Entrepreneurship development programmes through the setting-up of technopreneurs such as PitchBorneo is directed to help the Small Medium Industry (SME) sector, as well as produce new entrepreneurs through the PitchBorneo competition, held each year by the Sabah Technopreneur Association,” he said, noting the JPSM need to work with BITD and SCENIC to further enhance Entrepreneurship programmes. 

Efforts to elevate the adoption of innovation among the rural communities is being implemented through the E-Desa programme. 

“A more proactive and innovative approach is needed to spur all activities at e-Desa centres to benefit the people, “said Yakub. 

As for the Sabah Screen Fest, the Ministry would continue to organise workshops and short film and video animations for students and community, as such efforts are needed to produce creative artists with the skills to generate income and spur the state economy. 

“Also, the Ministry needs to give focus to lift the digital infrastructure in the state. We’ve already installed Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) at 24 locations in rural areas. 

“For this year, I’m asking for the KTSI to install 300 more VSAT across the state, in the hope this can lessen the digital gap between rural and urban folk,” he said. 

Then there’s development of Innopreneuer (producing entrepreneurs based on Innovation) among the M40 and B40 group involving innovative products and digital economy.

“Funding sponsorship for them can be a way for them to uplift their quality of life in overcoming the challenges arising from the pandemic,” he said. 

While giving focus to IR 4.0 and Digital Transformation, Yakub said it was important to promote the development of high technology local products to overcome the challenges of current times, and called for increased efforts to make advances on new emerging technologies such as drones, electric and electronic, the Internet of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence ( AI) as well as human-centric approaches.

As for the development of human resources in Sabah, Yakub said the Ministry provides scholarships for Sabahans to extend their studies at Higher Learning Institutions (IPT) in local and overseas institutions. In 2021, some 1,787 received scholarships in various fields, and 60 per cent involved the field of science and technology. 

In the government’s efforts to help those in the B40 category, he noted scholarships were offered to rural folk to join skills courses, an initiative established to help B40 students in rural areas to get education, and acquire future job opportunities once they finished studies. 

Some 170 students statewide were placed at skills training colleges in Kota Kinabalu. 

“This year, the state government has allocated RM55 million for the State Government Scholarship Programme ( BKNS), therefore KTSI needs to ensure this allocation is used fully for the benefit of the B40 and M40, to ensure they get the chance to pursue further studies or at skills-training institutions,“ he said 

He further noted the JPSM played an increasingly important role in human resources development, with increased rate of unemployment, especially among youths who lost their source of income.

The rate of unemployment has jolted to 9 per cent, the highest in the country which involved 178,600 people. 

“Therefore, I urge the department to expedite efforts to hold more skills training programmes, upskilling and reskilling, and job carnivals throughout the state,” he said and hoped the upcoming Jobs Carnival 2022 would be held in the east coast in January. 

Yakub said the Sabah Skills and Technology Centre would be organising the My reskill IIOT programme by the Malaysian Productivity Board (MPC) Sabah Branch, to train youth and industry on IR 4.0 technology, with an early target of training 100 participants from various firms. 

“SSTC also needs to deepen collaboration with a number of federal agencies for high-impact skills courses such as Smart Farming, Sensors and electronic Development Technology, Professional Drone Operator, E-Commerce Management, Oil Palm Technology and Management, MM4.0 and more,” he said. 

Yakub said an early target of training 400-600 participants has been set, noting the programmes will be handled by the SSTC, SCENIC, JPSM and AMC and needs to be coordinated proper to prevent duplication of events. 




Follow Us  

Follow us on             

Daily Express TV  

Special Reports - Most Read

What the people say
December 20, 2014