Amid spotlight on Sabah, Sarawak PKR urges authorities to upgrade internet connectivity in rural areas

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris student Rose camped in a forested site in her family’s rubber estate for better internet connection. — Picture via Facebook
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris student Rose camped in a forested site in her family’s rubber estate for better internet connection. — Picture via Facebook

KUCHING, Sept 8 — Sarawak PKR today called on the federal and state government to upgrade internet connectivity in the rural areas which it said is affecting many university students who turn to online learning during the enforcement of the movement control order.

Following the recent spotlight on Sabah student Veveonah Mosibin, its organising secretary Piee Ling highlighted the case of a Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris’ final year student from Pakan, Sarawak who called herself Rose ED, and chronicled her attempts to follow Veveonah’s footsteps to get better connection, on Facebook.

“Apart from Rose, the students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Nanga Uyau, SK Nanga Kesit and SK Ulu Lemanak in Lubok Antu district, were forced to camp in a mountainous jungle so they could get internet connection,” he said.

Piee added many students in the rural schools were unable to follow their lessons online due to poor internet connection, apart from the lack of basic facilities.

He said the federal and state governments have made many announcements in the past to upgrade the Internet connectivity in the rural areas, but until today the problems still exist.

“Sacofa Sdn Bhd in 2017 was reported that it would build 5,000 telecommunication towers within five years until 2022 to meet the aspiration of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg to achieve a 95 per cent broadband penetration.

“A sum of RM2 billion was promised for that purpose, to be equally shared by the federal and state governments,” he said.

He said under the Digital Economy Strategy Master Plan (2018-2020, mooted by the chief minister, 600 telecommunication towers were to be built.

He expressed hope that the Sarawak Multimedia Authority would be able to play its part to improve the connectivity.

Back in June, student Rose shared her experience trying out Veveonah’s method to get better internet connection.

She had camped in a forested site in her family’s rubber estate, along with mosquito nets.

She added although her longhouse does not have any internet connection, the surrounding areas do.

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