16/01/2024 01:13 PM

LABUAN, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- In a significant move towards Labuan's digital transformation, Neurogine Sdn Bhd, a prominent technology and service provider in Southeast Asia, has partnered with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL) and Labuan Chamber of Commerce (LCC) for a research initiative.

The primary goal is to evaluate the preparedness of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Labuan to adopt information and communications technology (ICT) tools and practices.

Neurogine chief executive officer Owen Chen Chee Onn hoped the research initiative would identify critical factors and bridge gaps, paving the way for Labuan to evolve into a smart city. 

The collaboration was formalised at the letter of collaboration signing ceremony at UMSKAL, witnessed by key figures from all three parties today.

Owen highlighted the timeliness of the collaboration, aligning with the vision of Labuan becoming a smart city, as proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his visit to Labuan in December. 

“The research team, formed immediately after the prime minister's visit, aims to complete the investigation in six months,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony today.

Led by Asso Prof Dr Geoffrey Harvey Tanakinjal, the research initiative is fully funded by Neurogine. 

He said the emphasis on MSMEs stems from their significant economic potential and their role in driving Labuan's economic growth.

Labuan, despite ranking second nationwide in GDP per capita, faces challenges such as poor employment prospects for youths and a brain drain. The research initiative responds to calls for private sector involvement to realise Labuan's aspirations as outlined in the 2040 Labuan Structure Plan Report.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey emphasised the need for a holistic approach to transform Labuan into a smart city, addressing challenges with realistic and proactive solutions. 

He envisions Labuan as a model smart city, emphasising technological progress, online government services, enhanced transportation, secure public spaces, and sustainable development.

The research initiative follows Neurogine's support for the establishment of a UMS Asian Centre of Excellence (UMS ACoE) for financial blockchain, indicating Labuan's readiness to leverage technological and economic opportunities in light of Indonesia’s capital city relocating to east Kalimantan later in 2024.

He emphasised the critical necessity of conducting research due to the escalating number of MSMEs on the island that persist in employing outdated and manual business transaction methods. 

LCC chairman Daniel Doughty affirmed the chamber's commitment to uniting industry players encompassing MSMEs in collaborative research efforts. 

“We are poised to fulfil our pivotal role in acquiring essential data for a thorough and comprehensive research initiative,” he said.

UMSKAL director Ass Prof Mohamad Rizal Abd Hamid emphasised the significance of small businesses on the island embracing digital tools for growth and competitiveness. 

He highlighted the necessity for Labuan, like other states undergoing economic transformations, to proactively prepare for the digital era to maintain its relevance in the evolving business landscape.




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