KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — The Temuan tribe in Kampung Orang Asli Hulu Kemensah can now see a brighter future after the installation of the Starlink device opened up their horizon with better internet coverage for education and maybe even to start an online business.
The Kampung Orang Asli Hulu Kemensah, Orang Asli Village Development and Safety Committee (JPKKOA) chairman Jamil Anak Lelaki Atong said he was grateful to the government for providing the facility and their other plans to raise the Temuan tribe’s standard of living.
“It is like a new world now, like we crossed over into 2023 from the 1960s. Our children can now study online, even though they are still lacking in devices and computers,” he told Bernama, here today.
The community, which has a population of 135, is also busy planning ways to start an online business, as no one in the village has ventured into the field.
“The villagers are working together to source products. We plan to sell seasonal forest produce online, such as herbs, jungle durian, ginger, bird’s eye chilli and bamboo as well as handicrafts,” he said.
Jamil and the other villagers are very happy with the government initiative and hoped the Starlink coverage could be expanded from the community hall to the rest of the 35 households in the settlement as well.
In a Facebook post on Aug 11, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said it was the first Orang Asli settlement to be installed with the Starlink device, making it the second location after the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) campus in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan last month.
He also said the internet quality in the area was very poor and almost non-existent.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been tasked to conduct further studies on long-term solutions, including constructing a tower as well as fibre-optic installation, he added.
Sabri anak lelaki Ahang, 49, said demand for bamboo spiked during the festive seasons but they faced a challenge when consumers could not communicate due to the lack of internet.
“Now, we just go to the community hall and find out if any buyers are looking for us. We are grateful to the government for the one-year Starlink sponsorship but hope it can be continued as our income is erratic and uncertain. We are dependent on the crops we plant in the forest and are still struggling after COVID-19,” he said.
Another villager, Mazlan Ambo, 37, said this coverage will enable the people to handle any emergency, as the hospital, fire and rescue department and police are just a phone call away.
“We want the children in Orang Asli communities to be open-minded and work towards a better future by studying online and settling down here,” he said.