Recently, the government of Perak rolled out 20,000 smartphones to students within the B40 community through the ‘Tuisyen Cikgu Saarani’ (TCS).
While it seems like a great initiative at first, many began to question the model of the smartphones being rolled out due to its low specifications. The phone has a 1GB RAM, 8GB storage and battery capacity of 2,000mAh.
This became a topic of discussion especially because students need to download multiple applications for online learning. Due to the slow processing, it becomes harder to run these apps smoothly for optimum learning.
Despite that, Education, Higher Learning and Human Resources Committee chairman Ahmad Saidi Mohamad Daud still believes that the smartphones are fine and that maybe the people who complained were using it for games which it wasn’t intended for.
15,000 of these smartphones were distributed during the first phase, specifically to help students who were about to sit for SPM.
Making matters worse, a 9-year-old boy got the shock of his life when his smartphone caught fire while he was engaged in an online class last Monday (14 June).
The boy’s aunt, Suryani Abd Ghani expressed her frustration on Facebook which was then reposted by Syed Saddiq on Twitter. Read the post below:
Bagi telefon kualiti rendah sebab buruk sangka dengan pelajar kononnya mahu elak mereka main game.
Akhirnya, telefon rosak. Yang susah, pelajar.
Belanjalah lebih sedikit untuk pendidikan mereka. Kerajaan ada wang. Guna untuk pelajar. pic.twitter.com/jPVgSAvlcA
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) June 15, 2021
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Suryani explained that she was sitting in-front of him when the incident took place at 9:30am, during his class. She was shivering with fear and her nephew went pale. They are both thankful that nobody got hurt and that they were at home when it happened so they could stop the fire as soon as it started.
She also noted that she’s used affordable smartphones before but none have caught fire like the one gifted to her nephew.
The family applied for the smartphone since the laptop their nephew was using was also slow and outdated in terms of its operating system. However, the new smartphone did not seem to bring much improvement when it came to the boy’s learning comfort.
Not only did it lag, but it also heated up very quickly which led to the fire.
“If you’re going to give free smartphones, don’t let it be like this because this is dangerous,” she said.
After a quick search on the Internet, it has been found that the smartphone costs less than RM200, which is incredibly cheap when compared to the average smartphones on the market. It also pops up when you search “cheapest smartphones.”
Syed Saddiq hopped onto the conversation by criticising the government’s decision to give away cheap phones with slow processors under the guise of curtailing gaming addiction.
This is what he posted onto Twitter:
Sengaja beri telefon kualiti rendah kerana bersangka buruk dengan pelajar.
Nak bantu, bagilah yang ada kualiti. Pelajar boleh belajar dari Google Meet, Telegram, YouTube, memory phone kena besar, nak buat video call dengan guru, etc etc.
Kenapa nak susahkan pelajar? 🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/rWuKZBH8kF
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) June 14, 2021
For parents and guardians who want to purchase more affordable phones of better quality, we suggest the Samsung Galaxy A02 or the Xiaomi Redmi 9a which costs RM399 and RM329 respectively.