Several students at Kampung Tembak B, Kuala Ketil have said that the internet connection in their area is so weak that they often miss out on classes and lessons given by the universities and schools. They have pleaded with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to build a telecommunication tower in their area.
There are also students in the village who will be taking their SPM or STPM exams that are upset about missing out on online classes. 17-year-old Muhd. Nur Amirul Hasan, a student at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Parit Panjang, said that he was only able to join a few classes during the school holiday period.
“I don’t feel motivated anymore to join the classes as the internet connection in my area is very weak,” he said.
18-year-old student from SMK Sik, Nur Fatihah Elleh—who will be taking STPM exams—has also expressed her concern of only being able to attend a few classes. She said that classes are currently being held from 8am to 1pm every day.
“I ask the MCMC to help build a telecommunication tower so that the students here can easily take classes online,” she said.
Utusan Malaysia has previously reported that two university students at Kampung Tembak B are forced to climb an 8 meter tall rambutan tree to get better connection for their online classes. They are Muhammad Saiful Izwan, a student of Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah, and Muhamad Fairul Ezuan Saidi, a student of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Merbok, Sungai Petani.
After Utusan Malaysia’s report, Muhammad Saiful Izwan said that several MCMC representatives along with a few representatives from telco companies have visited the village to test out the internet connection. He said that they came to the village after the news portal’s report.
They obviously aren’t the first students in Malaysia to suffer poor internet connection as online classes are required during the COVID-19 pandemic. We visited Veveonah Mosibin in Sabah—who climbed a big hill and a tree to get better connection for her exams, and now she has access to better connection after a viral video. Rose from Sarawak also had to camp out for better connection after Veveonah inspired her.
Under the Perikatan Nasional administration, the government has launched the JENDELA plan which focuses on increasing 4G coverage from 91.8% to 96.9% in Phase 1. While 5G rollout has been postponed, local telcos have to optimise its mobile coverage with existing resources and this includes shutting down 3G networks by end of 2021.