Standard Four student in Sabah endures hot sun, mosquitoes at oil palm plantation for better internet connection

Melanie Chalil
·2-min read
Standard Four student Muhammad Amru Umair has to go to an oil palm estate for better internet connection to participate in online classes. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV
Standard Four student Muhammad Amru Umair has to go to an oil palm estate for better internet connection to participate in online classes. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV

PETALING JAYA, Jan 22— The second movement control order (MCO) is once again shedding light on the plight of Malaysian students living in areas without internet access.

Muhammad Amru Umair, a Standard Four student in Sandakan, Sabah, has to travel to an oil palm estate for internet coverage just so he can participate in online classes.

The internet coverage at his home in Kampung Sinar Baru, Batu 12 is problematic but despite the challenges, the boy finds joy in online learning.

He told community news outlet Wide TV he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see his friends and teachers.

The boy who is from Kampung Sinar Baru, Batu 12 didn’t want to miss out on meeting his teachers and friends in the Google Meet session. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV
The boy who is from Kampung Sinar Baru, Batu 12 didn’t want to miss out on meeting his teachers and friends in the Google Meet session. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV

The Sabah-based media platform met the primary school student on the first day of the school where Muhammad Amru was participating in a Google Meet session at the unorthodox location earlier in the week.

The enthusiastic prefect was also fully dressed in his blue school uniform and a white songkok.

“This hill is the only easy spot to get an internet connection because it’s on higher land.

“But I have to put up with the heat and there are lots of mosquitoes,” he said during an introduction session online.

Muhammad Amru hopes those in power will provide high-speed internet access in his village. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV
Muhammad Amru hopes those in power will provide high-speed internet access in his village. — Picture from Facebook/Wide TV

The boy travelled on his father’s motorcycle for more than one kilometre to reach the palm oil estate.

At the ice breaker session, classroom teacher Muallimah Suriati Abdul Kadir also introduced the other teachers for each subject.

Muhammad Amru said even though he was used to kampung life that comes without internet coverage, he hopes authorities will make an effort to provide high-speed internet access in the area.

“I’m used to going uphill or anywhere just to get internet access.

“But it’s not to the point of climbing a tree.

“Sitting on a motorcycle will just have to do,” the boy said.

With online learning becoming the new norm for both students and educators, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed infrastructure disparities in rural communities across the country, especially in East Malaysia.

Last July, Sabah university student Veveonah Mosibin made headlines after spending 24 hours on a treetop for better internet connection during her online exams.

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