Communication minister promises better coverage in rural areas after girl is killed in hit-and-run while searching for internet

File photo for illustration purposes

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Aug 4: A teenage girl was killed in a hit-and-run incident while she was searching for a reliable internet connection along the Julau-Nanga Entabai Road in Sarikei on Monday (Aug 2).

Communication and Multimedia Minister Dato Saifuddin Abdullah expressed sympathy towards the unfortunate incident and offered condolences to her family.

With regards to the internet connection in Julau, he said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is working closely with the Sarawak government to ensure the issue of internet coverage in the areas will be addressed as soon as possible.

“Currently, a total of 12 telecommunication towers have been completed under the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund managed by MCMC and are fully operational in the Julau district while two more are in the implementation stage and are expected to be completed in first quarter of 2022,” said Saifuddin in a statement response to the case.

He said that a telecommunication tower is currently under construction by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) at the location where the girl was killed.

Under the National Digital Network Plan (JENDELA), Saifuddin said, a total of 22 new telecommunication towers are expected to be built in Julau starting the fourth quarter of 2021 and are expected to be completed by same time next year.

Apart from the construction of telecommunication towers, upgrading works of existing network to 4G is also being carried out at 19 transmitter stations around the Julau district until the end of this year, he added.

The Broadband Via Satellite (Wifi VSAT) project will also be implemented in 18 locations around Julau district. The project is expected to start in September 2021 and will be fully completed in December, 2021.

“It is hoped that the implementation of the various initiatives will be able to help the residents of Julau to carry out daily activities more smoothly as well as improve their living standards in this digital era,” said Saifuddin.