Abolish contract period so we can leave bad internet service providers

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had made working and learning from home the new norm. This requires stable and affordable internet services. However, Malaysians are suffering from poor internet services with existing telecommunication corporations and are unable to switch to better services.

This problem of poor service did not happen overnight but has existed for nearly a decade According to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the customer satisfaction Index (CSI) for internet service providers has been declining since 2012. The survey highlighted main grouses towards the service providers such as;

  1. Non-compensation when service is down
  2. Poor quality of broadband connection
  3. Poor quality of download speed
  4. Poor quality of upload speed
  5. Poor network coverage

Meanwhile, nearly half of fixed broadband subscribers possess speed below 50Mbps. The low-speed subscribers may only upgrade their service using the same telecommunication corporations with a higher premium. The low speed subscribers are not allowed to switch to different telecommunication corporations during the minimum 24-month contract period for household broadband. People will only realise the poor quality of the telecommunication provider after 1 month but by then they would be unable to exit their internet service

Source: MCMC (2021)

The minimum contract period allows telecommunication providers to impose “exit fees” worth the outstanding contact period. The proper legal term is “exit fees” and not “fines” or saman as some telecommunication corporations had propagated to the public. Fines can only be imposed by the government and not by corporations onto the people.

The people are “locked in” to pay for sub-standard services allowing the telecommunication companies to profit. The lack of flexibility to switch telecommunication corporations prevents competition in the telecommunication industry. This removes the no motivation for telecommunication corporations to reduce prices and increase speed.

The Federal Parliament through the Communication and Multimedia Act [Act 588] had granted authority to the Minister responsible for Communication to regulate fees and services offered by the telecommunication corporations. The current Minister, YB Saifuddin Abdullah from BERSATU could dismantle the minimum contract period at a stroke of a pen.

Henceforth, YB Saifuddin Abdullah from BERSATU is urged to dismantle the minimum contract period for internet to allow people to opt for better internet services and preventing unethical profiteering by telecommunication corporations.

Commented by

Central Committee
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
State Secretary
Parti Sosialis Malaysia Negeri Melaka (PSM Melaka)

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