Gobind: Petition Won’t Stop Me from Speaking for the People

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Unfazed over calls for his resignation after his criticism of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) for its high prices and poor customer satisfaction.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo asserted today that he will not allow any petitions obstruct him from doing his ministerial duties.

Referring to an online petition demanding that he resign as minister after his criticism of monopoly service provider TM, the minister said the petitioners are free to initiate it.

“It is a free country and anybody has the rights to start a petition, go ahead.

The petition appeared on Monday and alleged Gobind is “negatively bias towards TM” after he condemned the company for not being able to reduce Streamyx subscription fee prices and for lacking transparency in customer communication.

“My advice to all of them and the telecommunication companies is this: improve yourselves and all Malaysians will support you,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

The anonymous petition was started by one ‘Concerned CITIZEN’, and based on its wording, it is likely to be linked to TM.

Among others, the petition blames the minister for the decline in TM’s share price since the general election, which has gone down from RM5.00 in May to RM2.26 currently.

TM has lost almost RM12 billion in market capitalisation and share price, starting from when Gobind took office.

On Monday (Nov 19), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in a statement took TM to task over the telco’s poor service.

The regulator pointed out that TM had the highest number of complaints compared with other service providers, based on the average number of complaints for every 1,000 subscribers.

The MCMC received 7,946 complaints on TM services this year, representing an increase of 43% from 4,528 received in 2017.

The complaints against TM were on pricing (21%), lack of Unifi coverage (16%), Unifi service disruption (13%), billing disputes (14%), service delivery (14%) and other categories (22%).

Gobind said it is his duty as a minister holding the communications portfolio to question and try to improve things, and to find ways in which that can be done.

“This is what I am trying to do. If you look at my tweets, they essentially ask for explanations,” he said, adding that he also highlighted the complaints that he had received.

Gobind added that other telcos have reduced their pricing and have then reported an increase in sales.

Moreover, those (lower) prices were agreed on after discussion between them and MCMC.

When told that the petition’s creator held him responsible for negatively impacting TM’s share price, Gobind said there were numerous other reasons for that.

“How can you blame me? Are you saying to me there are no other reasons?” Gobind said.

“Let us be realistic. At the end of the day, if you look at the pricing, it has gone down even for other telcos. But they also reported an increase [in subscribers] and other benefits as well.”

He acknowledged concerns about TM’s share price, but said it did not mean he, as a minister, cannot ask questions or speak up on the matter.

“I will carry on to do my job which is to ask questions and bring forward the complaints of the people as best as I can.

“I completely understand it involves share prices. But at the end of the day, that does not mean a minister or a government official cannot ask any question or say anything.

“If that is the case, the change that we wanted to bring about will not happen.

“What we want is to bring a scenario where we will be able to talk about things,” he said.

“You must remember customers are important. And I firmly believe TM has a lot of potential in both the country and even the region,” Gobind added.