STARLINK A BLESSING FOR TEACHERS IN RURAL AREAS, HOPE FOR SUBSIDY PACKAGE TO BE INTRODUCED

The freedom of having unlimited high-speed internet access in remote areas is indeed a huge blessing to a teacher, who for eight years, had to rely on the limited internet access provided by his school.

Muhammad Izzat Afif Hasim, 32, who teaches at SK Long Miri, Sarawak, said the benefit he gained from the Starlink service far outweighed the amount of money he had spent on the device and its monthly commitment.

“When the government announced the availability of Starlink in Malaysia, I immediately ordered. It was pricey as well, but it was one of the alternatives available. So for me, the price is worth it,” he told Bernama.

Muhammad Izzat, who hails from Hutan Melintang, Perak, has been teaching at the school located at about a four to five-hour drive from the town of Miri for eight years now. It is also his first posting since he began the profession.

He said apart from internet access provided by the school via satellite with a five-gigabyte quota and at an average speed of only 25 megabits per second (Mbps), there were no other ways to get high-speed internet access around his school area.

“Even on the phone, we can only get a 2G signal here. With Starlink, we can get internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps and the quota is unlimited,” he said in a phone interview which was also unstable at times.

He said the Starlink service made available via negotiation between the government and Elon Musk had at least made things on par for him with those teaching or living in the city.

“I feel very happy, as we get to experience life just like those who live in the city. In the past, we were only able to get fast internet when we went out to the city. Now even in the interior, I feel like I can enjoy the same speeds as in the city,” he said.

Muhammad Izzat said nowadays, internet access should be considered a basic need of teachers, as a lot of work was done online.

“Moreover, now there is a lot of data that teachers need to upload,” he said, while suggesting the government should plan at least a subsidy package for the purchase of Starlink devices, if not to provide the device to them free of charge.

Concurring with his suggestion, another teacher, Olickson Jack, 27, who teaches at SK Long Sait – which is even further than Muhammad Izzat’s school and only reachable by boat – said he had, at times, spent close to RM500 a month for internet access prior to subscribing to Starlink due to quota-based charges.

Olickson, who is from Pekan Lapok, Tinjar Baram in Miri said the government had recently provided teachers in rural areas with a 5GB quota of CONNECTme Now internet, but it was not sufficient.

“Some of my friends, when they found out that I had bought this (Starlink) kit and knew that the price was quite high, (they) said ‘let’s wait for the government to come up with the ‘Starlink Rahmah’ (initiative). So far, Starlink is the best alternative available for internet access in the interior, its access is more stable and fast for our use.

“I feel that if the government subsidises the purchase of Starlink devices, it will attract many more users. Not only the teachers, but the village folk here also have a desire to buy this device,” he said.

Muhammad Izzat and Olickson were among the first to receive the Starlink device locally and shared videos of it on TikTok with each receiving more than 120,000 views today.

Netizens who commented on both videos also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Federal Government for facilitating the availability of the Starlink service in the country.

“Eight months on since the MADANI government (was formed)… Alhamdulillah… we’re able to enjoy the results of its efforts for the people,” wrote ‘nazz zan’, in reply to the Starlink video shared by Muhammad Faiz on his TikTok account ‘Amoi Morni.

Another commenter, ‘WantedWatanabe’ said only those in need understood and appreciated the efforts by the government to bring in the satellite internet service to the country.

“Those who don’t need it, condemn it without realising that, what may seem useless to them, is actually very useful for others,” the user wrote.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency