KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Kudat MP Abdul Rahim Bakri has said he views with suspicion the motives behind a viral video shot by Sabah student Veveonah Mosibin.
Abdul Rahim said his investigations have revealed that no examinations were conducted online in June and that Veveonah no longer resides in Kampung Sepatalang.
“I asked my officer Ambang Sobul who is from Kampung Bilangau Kecil, a village next to Kampung Sepatalang (to investigate the matter).
“From his findings, after interviewing two village heads, it was learned that the Sabah student and her family left Kampung Sepatalang long ago as her father works in Pitas town.
“They actually live in Pitas town that has internet facilities and (Veveonah) does not have a house in Kampung Sepatalang as she claimed,” Abdul Rahim wrote on his Facebook today.
Citing his officer once more, the MP insisted Veveonah had dramatised the situation and made baseless claims for the sake of garnering attention and publicity.
He said the officer obtained further details on the student’s background from the heads of two villages — Kampung Sepatalang and Kampung Bilangau Besar — whom he had interviewed.
Abdul Rahim’s response comes after Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin revealed that it was the former who had told him that the Sabah student did not sit for her online exam when she shot a video of herself climbing a tree to get internet connectivity.
Elaborating further, Abdul Rahim, who is also deputy finance minister, claimed an investigation was also done by a Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) faculty dean and lecturer who indicated that no final exam has been carried out online yet.
According to his Facebook post, the faculty dean responded by saying he disagreed with Veveonah’s actions and that she had only been a part of a “normal lecture” conducted online.
The dean also said that based on their survey, not even 50 per cent of students can access lectures conducted online in Sabah.
“My faculty informed all students who cannot access the internet to come back to campus and the student knew it.
“Some students chose to stay on campus because the line in their kampung (is) not stable… so we advised them to stay on campus or visit the nearest district office, schools or nearest town.”
Abdul Rahim however clarified that since they started using 4G internet services, coverage has been expanded and is much better than it was several years ago.
But he said this does not mean that there are no blind spots especially in hilly areas.
“Even in Kuala Lumpur, there are areas where coverage is limited, especially at secluded areas or when facilities are vandalised.
“(In this context) students were told that they were allowed to stay on campus if they have problems accessing the internet.
“Why should a student (Veveonah) endanger her life by climbing a tree and filming her actions, when she could have made the effort to travel to Pitas town or stop by a school or public space with good internet coverage?” said Abdul Rahim.
He added that if she had fallen from the tree it would have been a tragedy for both her family and the country.
“As an elected representative, I have never kept silent and always pursued the best for my constituency.
“But not everything which has been acquired has been successfully implemented.
“Rome was not built in a day,” he said.
In June, Veveonah posted a video to her YouTube channel showing viewers how she spent 24 hours on top of a tree in the jungle as that was the only way she could reliably connect to the Internet and sit for her Chemistry and Malaysian studies tests then.
Her YouTube video spurred the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to devise plans for a telecommunications tower in Kampung Bilangau Kecil, Pitas, which will give Veveonah and her fellow villagers improved internet access.
When the issue was raised in the Dewan Negara on September 3, Zahidi claimed Veveonah did not have any examination on that day and claimed she made the video for fame.
However, Veveonah denied the accusation and shared her examination schedule, which showed she had sat for exams between June 9 and June 12.