Speaking at the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) 2017, ACS President Anthony Wong talked about the importance of talent and education in the age of digital economies.

“We need talent and educational institutions," he said, speaking on the panel Transforming Sarawak Through Digital Economy.

"These two pillars are already holding up the ecosystem here. But to sustain that ecosystem, there needs to be more.”

Sarawak sits at the cusp of a digital transition as its Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced a range of initiatives last year aimed at boosting digital adoption including the allocation of RM1 billion ($300 million) to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). The MCMC would be responsible for bringing a baseline broadband speed of 20MBps to the region.

For Sarawak itself, Chief Minister Abang Johari further announced the investment of RM1 billion to upgrade ICT infrastructure across the state in a range of initiatives aimed at embracing digital change.

This includes the establishment of the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) to manage projects in areas of e-government, ecommerce, and cybersecurity; and The Digital Village, a young entrepreneurs’ tech incubator with dreams of becoming Sarawak's own Silicon Valley.

Sarawak's challenge, however, lies in maximising its human capital -- raising digital literacy, skilling, and training of current and future workforces across the state. Sarawak has a diverse landmass with a scattered population across sometimes rough terrain.

"From my perspective, the talent is here because the educational institutions and facilities are already here" said Wong, referring to Sarawak's universities including Australia's own Swinburne Unversity of Technology and Curtin University, both of which have campuses in Sarawak.

"But it needs to focus on its priorities. Sarawak needs the infrastructure.

"The next thing Sarawak needs to look at is to train its employees and the people involved in all these digitisation projects. They need to know more about the digital economy, the technologies out there, and more."

Anthony Wong attended IDECS 2017 as a guest panellist.