LAHAD DATU: A telecommunication tower will be built in the Danum Valley conservation area to provide wider and faster internet coverage facilities in line with the area being an attraction to international tourists, says Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general said construction of the tower was expected to begin this year and completed within four to six months depending on the the weather.
"This tower will be able to ensure the communication network covers all the areas in Danum Valley, especially at its resort area, where I find that the internet facility is only available at the lobby area, with weak internet access in the rooms.
"Providing internet in this tourist area is a challenge. For example, the Danum Valley is very challenging because there are 300-year-old trees, so surely conservation efforts will be taken into account before construction (of the tower) begins,” he told Bernama on Friday (Sept 30).
Mohammad said the expansion of the communication network would not only be focused on inhabited sites in rural areas but would also depend on local importance, such as tourism locations.
"Internet is now a very important utility because there are tourists who are digital nomads, who carry out freelance work.
"Apart from holidaying, these tourists also carry out their work remotely, so our hope is to provide them with telecommunication facilities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad, who is also chairman of the Central Agency Committee for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (Puspal), said it was in the midst of promoting Malaysia, which has various interesting destinations, as a filming location to foreign production companies.
"We are bringing in several production companies to promote filming in the east coast of Sabah. In the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) area under the management of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom), there are many resort islands and uninhabited islands that can be used as filming locations... this will convince everyone of the safety in the ESSZone.
"I was told that production companies from Denmark and the United States have shown an interest in wanting to film survival shows in Sabah and its islands.
"Several documentaries were previously filmed in the Danum Valley and that’s why, with the availability of the telecommunication tower, it will make it easier for companies to carry out production work here,” he added.
Mohammad said the main objective was not just to popularise interesting destinations in Malaysia but also to create job opportunities for local residents.