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KOTA KINABALU, Jan 27 — Facing criticism that non-governmental organisations have been quicker to address rural Sabahans’ need for electronic devices for home learning, the Sabah government today began studying the matter.
Sabah Covid 19 spokesperson Datuk Masidi Manjun said that the state Cabinet today discussed students’ difficulties in keeping up with their studies outside of classrooms and will begin identifying those who qualify for help as well as the assistance required.
“We have asked the state exco in charge of education to get in contact with the education department and identify those who qualify for help and how many devices are needed,” he said during a press conference today.
“We also have to decide what devices are suitable because as we know, some villages don’t even have WiFi or Internet. So we have to take those things into consideration too,” he added.
Masidi denied that the government was “slow” to help, and said it did not matter who was the first to help.
“We welcome help from everybody. Those who have money and are generous, we are happy they can help. Government funds do not work the same way, and it has to go through a process. But we thank the individuals who have helped and hope more will come forward to help,” he said.
Masidi was asked to comment on the government’s actions following reports that Ustaz Ebit Lew donated food packs, masks, wheelchairs and around 200 Samsung tablet computers to needy students.
Recent news reports have highlighted the struggle of rural Sabahans in keeping up with their studies online. Many do not have the luxury of cellular or internet service, and some do not have devices to obtain their lesson plans for the day.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid 19 cases in Sabah today dipped slightly to 295, just eight cases fewer than yesterday.
Masidi said that the decision as to whether or not to extend the current movement control order will come from the data collected by the ministry of health.
On whether politicians and elected representatives will be among the first to be vaccinated — expected to be in March — Masidi said that doctors, nurses and those on the frontlines should have priority.
However, he said it was up to the Health Ministry to decide whether politicians would be considered frontliners.