The proposed development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) was expected to create 1.6 million jobs by 2030, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said yesterday.
As such, he stressed, there was a need for the State to embark on a drive to encourage self-learning starting from pre-school.
Taib said the key in this would be the massive usage of broadband networks as the development of the central region required a huge pool of quality human resources to meet demand beyond 2020.
He made the remarks at the joint launch of Miri WiFi City at Curtin University of Technology here with Water, Energy and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Kheng Yaik.
Welcoming federal assistance to facilitate the development of the knowledge-driven younger generation, Taib said starting a pre-school with a WiFi environment conducive to self-learning culture and pursuit of knowledge would be a step towards the more sophisticated infrastructure and environment of the future.
He said Sarawak was on the fast lane of broadband coverage with Sacofa-Denawa Resources establishing the infrastructures for Internet connectivity and broadband applications.
Taib said the State took the initiative to start the broadband coverage last year, and provided RM2 million for the company to pay for the purchase of bandwidth for the two-year free service for the public.
“The conventional lines could take another century to reach our rural areas. There has to be another way of increasing Internet penetration rate and connectivity,” he said.
For the pilot project, he said he sought the blessings of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to avoid being misconstrued as being disrespectful of federal policies.
“The RM2 million forked out by the State government was peanuts compared to the free benefits for the people who rushed by the thousands to sign up,” he said.
Taib said Sarawak was optimistic of achieving 50 per cent coverage in all flat terrain in the State by 2009.
“But I worry about mountainous areas like places in Bario where we still have to depend on the federal government for subsidies,” he said.
He said priority would be given to Internet connectivity for all schools in the State to bridge the rural-urban digital divide by 2010 or 2011.
He commended Miri City Broadband Stakeholders Group led by chairman Lee Kim Shin, who is Infrastructure Development and Communication Assistant Minister, for their efforts and initiatives which had put the city in the driving seat of the broadband bandwagon.
The results of the broadband drive had impressed Dr Lim, who said he would be telling the other states and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to learn from the State.
He said Sarawak could even apply for quadruple play in broadband services by adding mobility into the data, voice and video communication through Internet protocols.
Dr Lim commended the State for its strong support of the national broadband plan (NBP), calling for fast roll out of high speed broadband services, wireless and wired, which form one of the main “pillars” of the government’s Malaysian Information, Communications