The RM13mil D-Virtual Park AT Jalan Meranek, Kota Samarahan, the first virtual theme park in Borneo, is set to spread the wonders of digitalisation to the community.
The park would put to the community the importance of understanding the power of digitalisation and also technology in line with Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0).
In an exclusive interview with Suara Sarawak and New Sarawak Tribune last Wednesday, Serba Dinamik Group Bhd group managing director Datuk Dr Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah explained the issue and their effects on Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole.
When will D-Virtual Park open its doors to the public?
D-Virtual Park is already open. However, due to the movement control order (MCO) only 30 people are allowed to be in the facility at any one time. So we will devise a plan so that visitors will come and experience it.
This is the first virtual theme park in Borneo. What are some of the initiatives that would make Kota Samarahan a global name?
We have patented the name ‘D-Virtual Park’ on MyIPO and it has already been approved. Next, the pilot projects in Kota Samarahan will be carried out in other states. Some that are well-received include those in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johor. And we are also promoting the essence and concept of D-Virtual Park in the Maldives and Tajikistan. We are also carrying out feasibility studies to implement D-Virtual Park at a resort in the outskirts of London. Currently, we have managed to penetrate the market in Abu Dhabi.
With the introduction of digitalisation here, do you have a bigger plan to develop the youngsters and Sarawak as a whole to become key players in the digital technology industry?
D-Virtual Park will be implemented in all relevant places. There is a section known as an innovation lab to assist start-up companies with great ambitions, ideas as well as possessing the potential to interpret their ideas into a system or product that could be marketed globally. This is a platform that we feel would develop the younger and older generations with fresh ideas. We think this development would produce more successful global entrepreneurs. This was proven by the Silicon Valley in California where they were able to produce many successful global entrepreneurs.
How many companies have participated in this initiative so far?
In Sarawak, with the cooperation of Borneo Startup, there are 33 companies so far. We have been told that there are more companies that have already been shortlisted and the number will possibly grow from time to time.
What are some of the assistance provided by these companies?
The assistance includes capital injection Serba Dinamik has committed RM5mil, Teraju has contributed RM2.5mil, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) has committed RM1mil so far, and other institutions have provided grants and expressed their desire to participate in programmes such as this as well.
Is this what you dream of?
Yes. I feel that this is one of my dreams. People say “Jangan menjadi jaguh kampung, tapi jadilah jaguh global”. (Don’t only be great locally but be great internationally as well)
In all of the states in Malaysia, why Sarawak?
Firstly, I am from Sarawak. Secondly, I accept the challenge of people’s cynical views of the progress and the abilities of Sarawakians. Thirdly, I feel that Sarawak is being led by a state government that understands the ambitions and the concept of the importance of digital technology and ultimately the frontier technology at the moment.
Serba Dinamik has great confidence that what we have dreamt of will become a reality, which will become a reference point for us to promote our idea in other states in Malaysia.
In 10 years, where do you see the technological development of Sarawak and Kota Samarahan in particular?
We are confident that technology is not subject to any community strata. We have been in discussions with multiple financial institutions to provide low interest loans so that technologies can be implemented in rural areas. One of it is smart farming. In this, we are using Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) in data collection to analyse the farming locations. This includes e-Commerce to market their agricultural products not only in Malaysia but also internationally. This is done in proving that technology can help the farming community to grow and produce products in a more effective and productive ways and with that we hoped that it could lessen the migration of youngsters from the villages to the city.
We are confident that this can be carried out. But we need commitment and efforts to be put in to prove that the results are there. Through this, we can change the mindsets of these youngsters from being only in the cities, to return to their villages and contribute their capabilities in developing their villages.
How will D-Virtual Park become a part of Sarawak’s tourism attraction?
I think that the times are changing, technologies are changing, and the interest of the people is also changing. Normally people always try to go to the latest state-of-the-art technology in terms of engineering, tourism, entertainment, and so on. D-Virtual Park brings about the element for such technologies to entertainments that would attract tourists to experience these digital technologies. With this, I think that it would become a must-go place for tourists.
How much has been invested in the facility?
So far, approximately RM13mil has been spent on this facility. In terms of return of investments, penetration of information, knowledge, and technology, it is moving very fast. I think this is an effect caused by the development of D-Virtual Park here.
Why did you make the shift from the oil and gas industry to a more innovative industry such as this?
We believe that in Serba Dinamik, we have been given the trust of investors and shareholders for them to have a big return of investments at the end of the annual operations. D-Virtual Park is a facility that would generate revenue and sales which would help provide benefits for investors, shareholders, and stakeholders of Serba Dinamik.
If we were to rely only on the oil and gas industry, it would not give us high return on investments. So with a more diversified sources of revenue, Serba Dinamik will achieve higher revenue and profitability and higher dividends.
[Source: “D-Virtual Park and power of digitalisation” published by New Sarawak Tribune]