Putrajaya may open up Internet market amid pricey services

Modified 5 Feb 2016, 9:45 am

Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said Putrajaya may open up the Internet service provider market to allow prices to be determined by market forces.

Salleh said this when asked about how he plans to deal with the Internet services being rolled out by providers that have not been very affordable.

"In most countries they allow open market competition to determine the prices. Closed markets, monopolies, or cartels, never benefit the consumer.

"So we may have to open up the Malaysian market and allow market forces to decide the cost of the Internet.

"It works in Europe, so that may be what we will need to do in Malaysia. That is what globalisation is all about anyway, a borderless world," he told Malaysiakini in an email interview.

Salleh emphasised on the need for affordability, reiterating that it would be useless if better Internet speeds are offered at cost that is beyond consumers' reach.

Several Internet service providers have begun rolling out high speed Internet, with at least 20Mbps, but prices have been in the region of RM170 and upwards.

In a related matter, Salleh said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is aware of issues faced by consumers of ABN Xcess, a digital cable provider which is reportedly facing financial difficulties.

He said MCMC is dealing with the outages and service disruptions by ABN diligently and has resolved 121 out of 122 complaints against the company.

"Action has been taken against ABN, which includes a warning for failing to resolve consumer complaints and issuance of notice for immediate rectification plans.

"MCMC will also be assessing its performance for the year ending 31st December 2015," he said.

ABN has been in the spotlight as it secured a RM450 million loan from Bank Pembangunan Negara, which is wholly-owned by the Finance Ministry.