Sarawak working on its own digital banking system, says Abang Jo

Sarawak chief minister Abang Johari Openg says the state government is setting up the infrastructure for a digital banking system. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has submitted an expression of interest to Bank Negara Malaysia for a licence to start digital banking in the state, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said today.

During the winding-up debate at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting here, he said the state government would collaborate with reputable technology companies and local retail banks approved by the governing bodies to set up a digital banking system which is resilient, fair and dynamic.

“Accordingly, the Sarawak government is in the midst of putting in place the necessary telecommunication infrastructure and facilities throughout the state to support our digital banking and other digital initiatives,” he said.

He said the State Cabinet would be preparing the groundwork towards this new banking infrastructure which would be required by the younger and new generation of Sarawakians to reap the benefits from the huge financial impacts of the digital economy.

“Like it or not, we are at a time when anyone can produce anything, anywhere through 3-D (three dimensional) printing, where anyone can broadcast their talent globally via YouTube or buy whatever products from China they want via or other platforms,” he said.

Abang Johari who is also the State Finance and Economic Planning Minister said the present economy worked across powerful networks that had changed the landscape of doing business, as well as the people’s consumption, employment and communications medium.

He said sales had been increasingly taking place online or over digital platforms, rather than through physical shops. “Intangible capital is now getting more important than physical capital. As we have heard and read, data is the new oil,” he added.