KUCHING: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) must look into addressing the rural-urban digital divide in Sarawak, says Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
The Chief Minister said large parts of the state’s rural areas still lacked access to communication and Internet services, which he described as a tool to fight ignorance, poverty and disease.
“We must therefore ask MCMC to pay particular attention to Sarawak. Don’t just have a tower standing there in the jungle with no communication network.
“There are some cases in Sarawak where there are towers but no coverage because the dish has not been installed due to some problems with the contractors. So please pay due attention to this matter. Do it and finish the job,” he said at Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd’s (Sains) celebration of a decade of community outreach initiatives here on Friday night.
Adenan said the gap in adopting and using information and communication technology was “particularly wide” between Sarawak’s rural communities and the peninsula states.
“Our rural territory is the source of our emerging economic strength as manifested in the potential of Score (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).
“There is a lot yet to be done but with the committed support and cooperation from all of us, I believe given another five years I should be able to substantially address this discrepancy,” he said.
In this respect, he said, Sains’ community outreach programmes would help bridge the rural-urban digital divide by producing technically skilled, employable rural youths.
He pinpointed the Rural ICT Guided Home-Based Technopreneur (RIGHT) programme as having a huge potential to develop rural communities through solutions such as e-commerce for rural handicrafts, homestays, ecotourism and telemedicine.
As such, he said, the Centre of Tehnical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) would collaborate with Sains on the RIGHT programme.
Sains will conduct RIGHT train-ing for Centexs students while the Entrepreneur Development and Halal Industry Unit of the Chief Minister’s Department will work with Sains to prepare selected RIGHT graduates to set up ICT centres in their villages.
Both parties exchanged the memorandum of agreement documents at the celebration, witnessed by Adenan.