Difficult in accessing telecommunication network has forced the Orang Asli villagers in Pos Betau, here, to climb hills or walk to a specific location in order to obtain a signal on their mobile phones.
To worsen matters, during an emergency, including road accidents along the Sungai Koyan-Cameron Highlands stretch, they would have to travel on a motorcycle for quite a distance before they were able to call for help.
The sole telecommunication tower in the area was built more than five years ago, and there were some villagers from nearby villages who would walk some 5km to the tower area to ensure their devices could receive stronger signal strength to make calls and access the Internet.
For some, they believe that poor telecommunication connectivity and Internet access have hampered the community’s growth especially
having access to social media platforms or to know more about the outside world through the world wide web.
Odd-job-worker Sari Atom, 37, from Kampung Pos Lenjang said Pos Betau which has 18 Orang Asli settlements with some 3,000 villagers from the Semai-tribe only has one telecommunication tower.
“The cell signal is very strong with full bars (on the phone) near the tower but if we stand about 500 metres or 1km away from the tower, we will get poor cellular signal. When the weather is good, we get good signal near the tower or in high areas but during heavy rain, there is no signal at all.
“The Orang Asli villagers here will climb hills, cross the river or walk quite a distance just to find strong signal to make calls. Sometimes when you notice a group of Orang Asli youth sitting together in a certain spot, it means the signal there is strong,” he said, adding majority of the villagers own mobile phones but seldom use their devices due to poor connectivity.