Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek yesterday announced the ‘buy RM10, get RM10’ formula in his effort to resolve the telephone prepaid top-up card issue. — Picture by KE Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Consumer associations today welcomed the effort by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek to ensure that consumers can enjoy the purchase of telephone prepaid top-up cards with the formula of “buy RM10, get RM10” worth.
Chief activist of the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia (PPIM), Datuk Nadzim Johan in supporting the move, described the formula as apt and fair.
He said this was because most of the prepaid top-up card users were the middle and low-income earners.
“It should be that way; we buy at RM10, we should get RM10 worth. Then only it’s fair and I believe consumers most welcome it if the telco companies accept the offer.
“The prepaid top-up card is also used by many school and university students as they cannot afford to have a postpaid account,” he said when contacted today.
Nadzim said with the arising prepaid top-card issue, it appeared like the telcos were trying to reap as much profit and using the GST (Goods and Services Tax) as an excuse, but ultimately the consumers suffered.
“The Customs Department, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the telcos should have met and discussed on this matter before implementing the GST.
“But now it looks like there have been no thorough planning, hence the confusion and conflicting statements from various parties,” he said.
Nadzim, however, praised Ahmad Shabery for apologising and admitting yesterday, the confusion and conflicting statements over the issue while the public was anxious to know the real status as the issue had prolonged.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) secretary, Datuk Paul Selvaraj also supports the formula, saying it was apt in protecting the interest of consumers and should be welcomed by all.
“I support this effort 100 per cent and I believe, the consumers too. No party would lose and what is important is for the government to care for the welfare of consumers,” he said.
Asked what if the telcos rejected the formula, Selvaraj said the government should be stern in dealing with the prepaid top-up card issue and use whatever power it had to resolve it.
“In such matters, don’t always give in to the demands of the telcos because for the government, it is important for the needs of the ‘rakyat’ (people) to come first,” he added.
Yesterday, Ahmad Shabery announced the “buy RM10, get RM10” formula in his effort to resolve the telephone prepaid top-up card issue over RTM’s TV1 live Special Edition programme, ‘Suara Kita Hak Kita’ (Our Voice Our Right).
He said he would forward his stand to the telcos before tabling the outcome to the cabinet for a decision.
Meanwhile, prepaid top-up card user Juliana Abd Kadir, 30, an administrative assistant at Seyakin Holdings Sdn Bhd, said although the additional charges were small, they were still a burden to consumers.
“The charges are RM5.30 for a RM5 pre-paid card, RM10.60 (for RM10), RM31.80 (for RM30), RM53 (for RM50) and RM106 (for RM100). The amounts don’t look much but for the average and low-income earners, they are still a burden, what more with the rising cost of living,” she told Bernama.
Car salesman Saiful Nizam, 35, said the telcos should not impose the additional charge because before this, the tax cost had been borne by the telcos.
“They should find other means to recoup if the GST affects the sale of their prepaid top-up cards,” he said. — Bernama