The end doesn’t justify the means

There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.

— Mandy Hale, author

I think we all have been kids at one time, and there is one adage, that is universally recognised and agreed upon: The end does not justify the means.

Essentially, a positive outcome isn’t a good thing if the methods used were dishonest or harmful to others.

It means, say, I am giving to the underprivileged, but I happen to do so by stealing them from others; stealing would undermine my charitable act.

That is why I take issue with arguments made on the cyberspace, justifying the move by an opposition political party to install broadband satellite service in rural schools in Baleh without going through the proper channels and authorities.

These people would say things like: “Rules are meant to be broken,” and “You can simply install broadband satellite as you like, no need permission lah!”

I mean, if we can have our way to do anything we like anywhere we want, we would be in a state of lawlessness and lest we forget, we are civilised people, unless you are not one of them.

Say if I want to install something in someone’s house, a television for example — which the homeowner doesn’t have in this case, I can’t simply enter their homes and install the bloody thing willy-nilly. The natural thing to do is to ask!

It’s not a massive leap. It is common sense.

Of course, the people would try to spin it in some other way. They would argue things like, “Don’t deny the rural people rights to internet connectivity.”

No. That is not the point. That was never the point.

The point is that these additional hardware installation, once it is there, would naturally need maintenance and regular upkeep.

Now, who would pay for all this? Will these people from this opposition party pay for it? Or would it now be the problem of the people in the school, district education office and the education department?

“I do not think providing funds to the schools for them to install the ConnectMe satellite broadband is illegal,” the opposition party’s chief for the Baleh branch said.

To this, I say, no it is not illegal. But when you are going to great lengths justifying whether the thing you were doing was not illegal or otherwise, it means you have made poor life choices!

As Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union (KGBS) president Ahmad Malie said when polled recently, all parties or organisations looking to make contributions or equipment installations to schools need to seek permission from relevant authorities.

“It is because there are contributions, particularly in terms of equipment, which require servicing from a technician. Thus, an agreement from the Education Department is needed to ensure that the equipment is taken care of.

“KGBS does not want the equipment given to become ‘white elephants’ (a possession that is useless or troublesome) due to miscommunication and lack of funds to operate,” he said.

It is never partisan, it is technical. Equipment, be it broadband satellite, computers, printers can only be of any good if it is in working condition.

For it to remain in good condition, it needs to be periodically maintained. Also crucially, any aid given to the schools which students are not from wealthy families shouldn’t be of any additional burden to them.

ConnectMe is a paid service — it’s not free and they expect profit as any business would. Why hasn’t there been any explanation on this by the party who is promoting its use?

Who will be footing the bill? Will the party pay for it or will the parents of these children? What guarantees can be made so that these services won’t burn a hole in the pockets of the rural

The state government has shown no opposition to empowering rural dwellers with better internet connectivity as Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) has done for the community in Nanga Sumpa.

It has also deployed the first multi-operator core network (MOCN) for its first SMART telecommunication tower under the SMA 300 tower programme.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg also hinted in a recent interview with TVS that Sarawak will have its own telco company within the next two years.

This will be a long-term solution stemming from comprehensive planning to solve a longstanding problem which in all fairness, no amount of political stunts can ever resolve.