Sarawak mulls digital ID platform
KUCHING, May 19 — The state government could create a Sarawak Digital Identity Platform for online verification, Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said tonight.
He said the platform would issue all Sarawakians with digital passports that would enable them to take their credentials anywhere they go.
“They can share the credentials with whoever they want to at any time, as they get authenticated by any entity, whether in the private or public sectors,” he said at a gala dinner for the participants of the inaugural Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Conference.
The premier said the platform will also drive engagement, efficiency, and digital engagement.
He said this would then increase economic activities as well as socially inclusive growth and prosperity.
“The platform would be expected to further fuel the adoption and usage of the state-owned S-PayGlobal into an exponential trajectory,” he said.
He added that the natural extension of the platform would be physical cards that would allow individuals access to services that otherwise would be impossible for them without telecommunications network, such as in the rural areas.
“The cards can also be used in the urban areas for different purposes. In the urban setting, they can be virtual cards rather than physical.
“These physical or virtual cards would enable individuals to access government services, public transport, entrance to buildings, make payments including discounts.
“The benefits of virtual cards — powered by digital identity — are enormous, pervasive and impactful, both socially and economically,” Abang Johari said.
He stressed with the platform and the virtual card, the state would be moving towards a state-owned digital pass — the Sarawakpass — that Singapore has shown to be effective through the republic’s Singpass.
He said the Sarawakpass would become the trusted digital identity for every Sarawakian to access the public services provided by various state government departments and agencies, and also for private sector services.
The premier also said Sarawak needs to urgently adopt, create and implement new policies and strategies to address cybersecurity threats.
He said these initiatives include enhancing Sarawak’s cybersecurity capacity and capability, big data analytics in cybersecurity and state digital identity platform.
“We need to build an ecosystem for cybersecurity expertise in Sarawak,” he said, adding that cybersecurity is a vast domain requiring both deep technical expertise and generalist roles.
“These generalist roles require a broader skillset, including problem solving and critical thinking skills — to undertake roles from education and awareness raising to policy writing, governance and others,” he said.