Communications and Multimedia Ministry deputy minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said a student who claimed she had to stay overnight up a tree to achieve stable Internet connectivity to sit for online exams actually did not have any examinations on the day she recorded the video.
Zahidi made the statement in a Dewan Negara session today (Sept 3) as part of his response to a supplementary question by Senator Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin.
Mojuntin asked what the government’s plans are to bridge the digital gap in urban and rural areas, especially in Sabah, and provided the story of Veveonah Mosibin as an example of students struggling with e-learning due to lack of stable Internet connectivity.
Zahidi’s statement can be heard from the minute 13:05 mark in a video posted on YouTube where he referred to Veveonah as “adik”.
“For your information, (Veveonah) who is a YouTuber did not have any examinations on that day. We have checked. In this case, we need to be more wary so we don’t get easily fooled by YouTubers or some people trying to raise an issue.”
Zahidi added that the student appears to have been trying to make a name for herself and achieve temporary fame (“terkenal sekejap”) through her video.
“There were no exams on the day she filmed the video which meant that it was made for entertainment. It appears to be an act and we have been fooled to feel sympathy towards her,” he said.
Vevenoh’s video which was posted in June went viral and received widespread attention, which prompted the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to issue a statement saying it will work towards improving Internet coverage in her area at Kampung Sapatalang in Pitas, Sabah.
Telekom Malaysia also announced an initiative to upgrade the Internet speed at Pusat Internet Kampung Pinggan-Pinggan in Pitas to up to 300Mbps, which the company said would benefit Veveonah and others in her community.
Zahidi urged members of parliament in areas with no Internet coverage, or blind spots, to report the issue to MCMC.
“We will act fast to tackle the issue especially when it comes to needing better Internet connectivity for education and business purposes which are important to the people.”
Zahidi also explained that the government is looking to improve national 4G coverage from 91.8% to 96.6%, adding that some of the challenges faced in the process include addressing blind spots in both urban and rural areas, as well as vandalism.
He said fiber copper cables have been dug up and stolen by thieves which affects connectivity in some areas.