07 Sep 2023, New Straits Times
JOHOR BARU: Kampung Orang Asli (KOA) Sungai Temon residents here have described the installation of Starlink satellite equipment in their village as an earnest initiative by the government to improve the educational standards of their children.
Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Temon Tok Batin (village chief) Salim Palon said the initiative was eagerly awaited by the residents, especially the youths, as they often had difficulty gaining internet access due to the village’s proximity to Singapore.
“I am grateful to the government for the efforts they have taken, which sparked new enthusiasm among the children in this village and awakened their interest in science and technology.
“Before, it was difficult to get internet access and make phone calls because the line was connected to the frequencies of neighbouring countries. Their frequency access is stronger,” he told Bernama recently.
Salim who has been leading the Seletar tribe of Orang Asli community in Sungai Temon for almost 40 years, said the installation initiative also proves that the federal government does not marginalise the welfare and education of the Orang Asli community.
“Earlier, some children were provided laptops, but since they did not have access to the internet, the laptops were inactive and some residents even had to ride on other people’s data or go to the mainland (city) to get smooth internet,” he said.
Salim said the satellite system installed in the village’s multipurpose hall makes it easier for residents to communicate with each other and the authorities, especially during emergencies.
According to the Johor Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA), the Seletar tribe belong to the Proto-Malay tribes and are a group of coastal and maritime people living on islands, coastal areas and estuaries.
There are 289 villagers from 74 families living in Sungai Temon KOA, and the majority of them, including women, work as fishermen.
Badan Kebajikan Orang Asli Islam Semenanjung Malaysia (BKOA) president Datuk Isa Ab Hamid said the satellite device can bridge the digital gap and produce more technology-savvy among the Orang Asli community.
“This facility will give the Orang Asli children the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, as many of them are school drop-outs and it will also help tuition teachers find materials when they teach in the village,” said the former senator.
On September 2, it was reported that efforts by the Communications and Digital Ministry, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to install the device at KOA Sungai Temon had solved the problem of internet access.
This is the third device installed in local Orang Asli villages after KOA Kemensah, Gombak in Selangor and KOA Tonggang, Tambun in Perak. – Bernama