Sarawak is forging ahead toward becoming a digitalized state by 2030. Various development agencies and organizations have been undertaking efforts to contribute towards this goal. Such efforts include promoting “digital inclusivity” to ensure no stakeholders or communities in Sarawak are left behind in the state’s digital economy agenda.
Among the leading development agencies in this drive are Sarawak Multimedia Authority SMA, Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation SDEC, and the Sarawak Civil Service Digitalisation Unit, SCSDU. Along with NGO partner, Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak (AZAM Sarawak), the agencies have collaborated to reach out to rural communities through the SMA-AZAM Digital Inclusivity Programme comprising the awareness creation Randau Digital Komuniti on 20 March at Sri Aman and the ‘Program Mendigitalisasi Komuniti Akar Umbi’ on 21 March at Lingga.
As one of the enabling agencies on hand to reach out to the local community, the SCSDU helped to boost awareness and understanding of the digital infrastructure and services provided by the government such as the Sarawak Online Portal, the S Pay Global, and Sarawak ID.
As a part of the Sarawak Government fintech mobile app platform, the S Pay Global (formerly known as Sarawak Pay) is a type of platform that provides a secure eWallet for the user. S Pay Global offers a lot of convenience to the user, especially for those who are looking for a cashless transaction. For example, users can pay their utility bills using the app and also pay for the things that they purchase as long as there is a QR code provided by the merchant. Other services such as parking fees and also, transport services can be paid using the app.
A representative of (SCSDU) Ms. Philomena Dexclyn said “Most of the participants know about S Pay Global but they still face some difficulties on how to use the app.” She added, “Our role here is to teach them how to use the app and also register those who have not registered for their S Pay Global account and also for Sarawak ID”. Many of the participants interviewed in the program have already registered their Sarawak ID with the help of the Sri Aman District Office and are presently waiting for new information to be provided by the state government via the online portal.
Although S Pay Global is widely used in the Sri Aman district, this is not yet the situation in the Lingga district. Lingga Bazaar is located around 40 minutes from Sri Aman town. The community in Lingga is yet to have sufficient information about this platform and many are not aware of S Pay Global and Sarawak ID.
According to one of the participants of the ‘Program Mendigitalisasi Komuniti Akar Umbi’ held at the Digital Community Centre (DCC) Lingga, Mr. Mohammad Firdaus, he was aware of the existence of S Pay Global but did not know how to use it for his business. He was able to overcome this through the guidance of the SCSDU team during the one-day program.
The SMA-AZAM Digital Inclusivity Programme has been undertaken since 2018 where it focuses on helping to educate the rural community on the digital economy and how to take an active part in it.
Apart from the SCSDU, other entities that helped to provide guidance to the local community in Lingga and Sri Aman were a Kuching-based e-commerce company Timogah Sdn. Bhd. who helped train local entrepreneurs on using e-commerce platforms, and a local youth social media influencer, Mr. Qaiyyum Jawi shared knowledge on digital content creation to encourage the youth to use digital platforms to help promote Lingga’s tourism attractions and local products.
Thirty-five participants joined the program. According to Mr. Mohamad Firdaus, the SCSDU team taught them a lot about the features that they can use in the S Pay Global App. He feels that S Pay Global App can help him to provide a more convenient way for his customers to pay for his services.
Meanwhile, Ms. Dayang Jamala a local entrepreneur in the eCommerce group was excited to learn how to use the eCommerce platform that has been set up by TIMOGAH to sell her products. Dayang Jamala said, “TIMOGAH online website enables vendors from rural areas to promote their products to other parts of Sarawak such as Kuching and other districts.
Another participant, Muhammad Haiqal of the content creation group said “As a member of the younger generation, we also have the responsibility to promote Lingga and show its uniqueness to the people outside of this district” Mr. Qayyum Jawi taught them how to create content which highlights the uniqueness of Lingga District which includes its product such as “ikan terubuk”.
AZAM will conduct follow-up sessions with the groups to ensure greater immersion in digitalization among the participants and their surrounding communities. The same program will be organized for the community in Dalat next, followed by Long Lama later this year.