The lack of internet connectivity during a time when everyone is online to consume news, connect with loved ones and attend classes has been detrimental to those living in rural areas.
The issue first came to light, forcing the nation to pay attention, when youth Veveonah Mosibin went viral for climbing trees in order to get internet connection so she could further her studies. Equipped with a power bank, mosquito net and food, she spent 24 hours on that tree to complete her exams.
This sparked a national discussion and call-to-action to improve the availability of internet in rural areas.
From there similar stories such as the Sarawakian teacher who organised a hike through the woods for better internet coverage and the dad from Kelantan who set-up a tent atop a hill for his daughter to attend online classes began circulating the internet.
Despite the traction this issue has been garnering over the past year, it seems like there is still so much to be done when it comes to providing proper internet coverage for youths across the country.
On August 2, a female student died in a road accident when she was hit by a vehicle while searching for internet connection on Jalan Julau-Nanga Entabai in Sibu. Her friend, who was riding the motorcycle while she was a passenger, sustained minor injuries.
Julau Chief of Police Andam Brayun stated that the incident happened at 9pm and the victim was only 17-years-old.
“During the incident, the motorcycle ridden by the two victims were heading straight to a new housing area in search for internet connection. The motorcycle then clashed with the back of another vehicle,” he said in a statement.
The victim was pronounced dead at the Julau Health Clinic. The type of vehicle and license plate of the other vehicle is still unidentified.
Her body has been transferred to the Sarikei Hospital for further action and investigation under Section 41 (A) Motor Vehicles Act 1987.
Her death has been deemed a profound tragedy and a harrowing reminder of how much work needs to be done to provide basic infrastructure to those living in rural areas. The digital divide is made more apparent than ever and it is time for serious reform to take place.