Death of 17-year-old student while searching for Internet connection gets Minister’s attention


THE death of a 17-year-old female student searching for internet coverage in a hit-and-run last Monday has caught the attention of Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

In a statement, Saifuddin said he was saddened by the death of Kemalia Fran George, who was hit by a vehicle in the 9pm incident in Julau.

“I sympathise with what happened and would like to express my condolences to the family over the death of Kemalia, who was searching for internet coverage along Jalan Julau-Nanga Entabai near Sarikei in Sarawak,” he said.

He said a new communications tower is in the process of being built by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), the lead agency for the state’s digital economic transformation.

“Under the National Digital Network (Jendela) initiative, 22 communication towers are expected to be built in the Julau district in the fourth quarter of 2021 and are expected to be ready at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022,” he said.

On internet coverage in Julau, Saifuddin said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is working closely with the Sarawak government to ensure that problems in the area will be addressed soon.

According to Saifuddin, some 12 communications towers have been completed under the universal service provision (USP) grant managed by MCMC and are fully operational in the Julau district, while two more towers are at the implementation stage and are expected to be ready in the first quarter of next year.

Apart from the construction of the towers, work to upgrade to 4G is being done on 19 transmitter stations in Julau, including a WiFi VSAT project at 18 locations.

This project is expected to be implemented next month and is scheduled to be fully completed by December this year.

In the accident, Kemalia, a student of SMK Julau, was riding pillion on a motorcycle with a friend searching for internet coverage for a school assignment.

Kemalia was rushed to the Julau health clinic but was pronounced dead on arrival. Her friend sustained minor injuries. – Bernama