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SARIKEI, Dec 9: Pakan incumbent Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom is urging the federal government to give Sarawak the necessary autonomy in telecommunication matters especially in regards to funding communication services in remote areas such as his constituency.
He opined that the government through Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) should give back the funds contributed by the telecommunication companies (telcos) to the State government for Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to manage.
“You have to provide communication services to the people regardless of whether you make a profit or a loss.
“In providing this kind of service, the telcos should not always talk about profit and loss. It should not be like that,” Mawan said when interviewed by SMA’s Nuju Digital at his service centre here yesterday.
Currently, he said Pakan has only 10 per cent Internet coverage and this is far from satisfactory especially during this Covid-19 pandemic time when most daily activities have to be done online.
“Now we have problems especially for students who have to undergo online classes. Now what are we going to do about it?
“In my case, to highlight it is also wrong and not to highlight it is also wrong. And you have to fork out money from your own pocket to subsidise students who have to rent rooms here in order to get the Internet connectivity for their studies,” he lamented.
Mawan also highlighted the difficulties faced by Pakan residents who have to resort to all kinds of means to get access to the Internet, including climbing hills and using boats.
“But if we can have more say in communication matters, I think this issue can be resolved. I’m talking as a government person. I’m not (an opposition leader) Lim Kit Siang.
“I know we are putting in a lot of effort in this issue. And we continue to improve it. So, we hope that this matter could be addressed as soon as possible because as frontliners, we are being criticised for the slow pace of implementation of this Internet connectivity,” he added.
Mawan stressed that despite the many challenges Sarawak is currently facing, the State government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is still pursuing and putting endless efforts into elevating the rakyat’s well-being. — DayakDaily