The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) would like to address the issue of Telekom Malaysia (TM) being unfair to its customers by deciding to charge RM5 for every printed TM bill starting January 2016.
This move will be highly disadvantageous to the older generation - these are the majority of grandfathers and grandmothers out there. This age group is usually made up of people who are no longer working and are depending on their savings, pension or children for financial support. Not to mention, most of them won’t even know how to use a computer.
In a sense, they have no choice but to pay that RM5 every month if they want their lives and telephone services to continue running smoothly.
Even if they are in the right tech-savvy age group, they may be hampered in other areas. For instance, those in the lower income group or the people living in rural areas will probably not have the facilities to check their TM bills online. Again, if TM has its way, these people will have no choice but to pay the extra RM5 every month to get a printed bill.
Is it really necessary to increase their financial burdens? RM5 a month equals an additional RM60 they will have to hand over to TM every year.
Besides, isn’t RM5 a month for a printed bill a little too high? It only cost around RM0.60 to send a few sheets of paper and not much to print the bills. It seems like TM’s proposed charge for printed bills come January next year could just be a blatant act of profiteering.
While it is understood that we are moving into a technologically advanced and environmentally friendly era, the idea is to encourage people to adopt these views and practices, not to coerce them into it.
We ask that the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) put a stop to TM’s plans of charging this extra RM5 for printed bills. For a company that provides mediocre service at best, the fact that they trying to take advantage of their customers with these kinds of tactics is both frustrating and infuriating. Before TM thinks of introducing any additional charges, perhaps they should focus on improving their services first.
Better yet, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry should not allow TM to continue monopolising the landline market. Since TM refuses to improve its services despite the numerous complaints lodged against them, the market should be opened up, to allow other companies that could possibly provide significantly better service than TM to offer those services to consumers.
Competition is important. Without it we get companies like TM who feel that they can continue providing dismal services but still continue to collect their customer’s hard earned money. TM can do this because consumers have no choice - it’s either TM or nothing. We need to be able to choose which telecommunications provider we want to patronise.
SM MOHAMED IDRIS is president, Consumers Association of Penang.