Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang - Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong
in Petaling Jaya
on Tuesday, 25th February 1997

Telekom Malaysia should take a policy decision to be customer-friendly by setting up a Consumers’ Council to deal with the many problems and complaints of both Telekom and TMnet users

The time has come for Telekom Malaysia to take a policy decision to be customer-friendly by setting up a Consumers’ Council to deal with the many problems and complaints of both Telekom and TMnet users.

Telekom and TMnet’s ingrained customer-unfriendliness could be seen from the latter’s reaction to the first instance of hacking into the TMnet homepage last Tuesday, when it virtually blamed TMnet users for not being careful about their ID and passwords in allowing such “vandalism” to take place, when it was the TMnet’s own lax security which was at fault. It was only after the second hacking within 12 hours of the statement by Telekom’s TelCo chief operating officer, Dr. Abdul Rahim Haji Daud that “the incident would never occur again” that TMnet was less liberal with its blame on others for its woes.

What should be a matter of national concern is that complaints by both Telekom and TMnet users, whether about unfair billing, slow connections or dialup problems had not been given prompt, proper or satisfactory attention.

For instance, I have received a desperate email complaint from one Telekom and TMnet user from Muar, Anthony Joseph, which typifies the problems faced by users.

Anthony said that when he subscribed for TMnet in November 1996 he was offered a second line without having to pay a deposit and connection fee. He took up the offer and used this new line almost exclusively for TMnet 1515 access .

He also made a few national calls from it but the bulk of all his calls were made from his old line which he had been using since 1981 in the past 17 years without any grouses or complaints regarding the phone bill.

It is the new phone which is in question. The January bill for his new phone showed 2,600 units (RM78.00) as Panggilan Tempatan when at most it would be RM10.00 as he used his old line for almost all his local and national calls.

All his attempts since January 20 to resolve the problem, whether at Kedai Telekoms or with the Telekom offices were of no avail as they were not taken seriously.

From Jan. 21, he also disconnected the phone from the new line and decided not to manually dial out from it and to use it only for the internet 1515 connection, as well as drastically reducing his internet connection since then.

However, when he received his bill for February 1997, again he was billed a staggering RM77.91 for Panggilan Tempatan for the new line. When he again complained to Telekoms, he was told that the print-out for an itemised account of his local calls had been misplaced.

Up to now, Anthony is still being given the “merry-go-round” by Telekom and TMnet.

Telekom and TMnet must be able to attend to the numerous complaints from their users throughout the country with despatch and satisfaction if Parliament is not to step in to ask the government to form a statutory users’ council to protect the interests of the users.

Telekom and TMnet should be able to form a Consumers’ Council comprising representatives from the users to monitor the quality, efficiency and fair billing of its services.