SEMATAN: Sarawak is hoping for more allocation from the federal government to help in the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in the state, particularly in the rural areas.
Minister of Public Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi said the state government was making continuous effort to provide internet access to the people, but needed more fund from the federal government to realise it.
“The state government is making continuous effort to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas in line with the rural transformation programme (RTP) and to allow the rural community to be involved in business and enhance their economy.
“With federal government’s assistance we can intensify efforts to bring many benefits to the rural community,” Dr Rundi said when launching the Kpg Telok Melano telecommunication tower, at Sematan Palm Beach Resort here yesterday.
The launching was also attended by assistant ministers for Public Utilities (Water Supply) and (Electricity and Telecommunication) Datuk Roland Sagah and Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, respectively, Opar assemblyman Datuk Ranum Mina and Sacofa Sdn Bhd managing director Mohamed Zaid Zaini.
Dr Rundi said it was an arduous task to put up telecommunication towers in the state due the high cost, rugged terrain and thick vegetation, but said such effort would be carried out in phases.
According to him, telecommunication towers would be built in areas with heavy population where there were schools and clinics.
“The state government will carry out the ICT programme (building towers) in phases and by 2025 we will be able to cover the rural areas with telecommunication services,” he added.
He thanked Sacofa for building the tower costing about RM1 million at Kpg Telok Melano which would benefit more than 2,000 people in the area, adding that the tower would also boost the local tourism industry to benefit the locals.
“I appeal to Sacofa not to look only at the cost, but to consider the needs of the rural people to be connected to the outside world by telecommunication services,” he added.
Meanwhile, Zaid said Sacofa had built about 1,000 telecommunication towers in the state in the past 15 years to help the state government in reducing the digital divide between urban and rural areas.