SIBU, Aug 4 — The death of a 17-year-old female student who was a victim of a hit-and-run while searching for internet coverage in Julau last Monday has caught the attention of the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
In a statement, Saifuddin said he was saddened by what had happened to Kemalia Fran George, who was hit by an unidentified vehicle at 9 pm on Aug 2.
“I sympathise with what happened and would like to express my condolences to the family over the death of Kemalia who was actually searching for internet coverage along Jalan Julau-Nanga Entabai near Sarikei in Sarawak,” he said.
He said a new communication tower was in the process of being built by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority, (SMA) which is also the lead agency for the state’s digital economic transformation.
“Under the National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative, a total of 22 communication towers are expected to be built in the Julau district in the fourth quarter of 2021 and expected to be ready at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022,” he said.
On the issue of internet coverage in Julau, Saifuddin said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is working closely with the Sarawak government to ensure that the problem with internet coverage in the area would be addressed as soon as possible.
According to Saifuddin, some 12 communication towers have been completed under the universal service provision (USP) grant managed by MCMC and are fully operational in the Julau district while two more towers are at the implementation stage and are expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2022,
Apart from the construction of communication towers, work to upgrade to 4G is being done on 19 transmitter stations in the Julau district and this includes the Wifi VSAT project at 18 locations.
This project is expected to be implemented in September and is scheduled to be fully completed by December this year.
In the accident, Kemalia, a student of SMK Julau, was riding pillion on a motorcycle with a friend searching for internet coverage for a school assignment.
Kemalia was rushed to the Julau health clinic but was pronounced dead on arrival. Her friend sustained minor injuries.