Press Statement By Violet Yong:
Sarawak GPS (previously known as Barisan Nasional) has been governing Sarawak for the past 58 years and we still have the worst connectivity resulting in 64 of 82 constituencies needed face-to-face campaigning for the twelfth state election. Only 16 constituencies is deemed as having reasonable connectivity to enable online campaigns be carried out.
It is common knowledge that the Local Authority or more commonly known as Local Council, is under the purview of SUPP’s Minister of Local Government and Housing, Dr Sim Kui Hian and Mayor of Kuching South, Dato’ Wee Hong Seng is heading the Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan(MBKS).
What have both done in relation to plan and improving the poor coverage and connectivity of telecommunications infrastructure in Pending?
‘Since the construction of telecommunication infrastructure is within the council’s jurisdiction, they could have planned these key infrastructures in strategic places to improve coverage.’
Furthermore, the Ministry of Local Government could have formulated suitable by-laws that will enable Local Councils to enforce a minimum tonnage for all telecommunication infrastructure so that all residents of Sarawak can enjoy a better coverage and a more stable connectivity.
One of the ways that could be adopted and get implemented is that all telecommunication towers erected must provide free WiFi access to the surrounding B40 residence.
By doing so, we would have assisted the children from the lower income families to attend online classes. This would have lighten their parents burden to provide them with costly connectivity! Such facility will also have help our schools expedite their digital learning programmes and improve the digital competency of the children from the lower income families.
The wishful thinking of Smart City is but a pipe dream. How can our city be smart if we only have pockets of good connected areas? Due to the lack of strong, stable and wide coverage, we can only focus on pockets of automations which already had been done by many private companies in Sarawak.
Before we continue to dream, it would make better sense for us to focus on the more pressing issues like the ever rising cost of living, the hardships of providing for our loved ones and the day to day challenges. Next, we must focus on providing good quality basic amenities first which is the basic requirement of a smart city. Unlike Milton, we would focus on engaging the constituents and work with them on the existing avenues to ease their problems.
Overall, Sarawak still need to beef up her basic infrastructure such as education, health care, connectivity, telecommunication coverage, electricity and treated water to serve our widely spread population before embarking on such elitist programme such as smart city or even smart schools when most of our other Sarawakians are suffering and struggling to access basic amenities.
DAP Candidate for Pending N.10