Set up commission to promote arts and crafts
John Teo | 09 Mar 2018 00:30

IF THERE is one fairly legitimate criticism of Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s somewhat obsessive emphasis on developing the state’s nascent digital economy, it may be that there seems absent a perhaps even more important concomitant plan and state-wide policy to strengthen its real economy in tandem. He has plans of lavishing scarce financial resources on beefing up statewide hugely expensive infrastructure to enable a virtual economy.

Getting isolated rural villagers in the Bario Highlands, for example, hooked up speedily and all day onto the information superhighway will, of course, in theory be highly emancipative and liberating for individual villagers in almost every sense, not least economic. Whether it is the best use of limited state resources to prioritise this is quite another matter altogether.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing had previously made the observation that a virtual highway may be quite economically useless unless there first exists a physical highway, without which no real goods can be easily and cheaply transported in or out of anywhere.

But services may be another matter. The question then arises here as to what services Sarawak as a whole and rural Sarawak in particular may competitively offer to the rest of the world.