GRIK: Fixed-line residential telephone subscribers will have to pay RM3 more per month – from RM22 to RM25 – for rental from Saturday.
Rural subscribers who were connected to telephone exhanges with a capacity of less than 1,000 users would be exempted, said Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie.
“These users will continue to pay RM20 monthly rental,” he said, adding that rural customers were also offered discounts if their local calls exceeded a certain amount.
On March 1 last year, Telekom Malaysia raised the charges from RM20 to RM22. This brought in an extra RM84mil.
Speaking to reporters yesterday after the ministry’s Clients’ Day gathering here, Moggie said the authorities had decided then to raise the rental in stages.
On the possibility of higher electricity rates following an increase in petrol prices in view of a looming war in Iraq, Moggie said 70% of the country’s electricity were sourced from natural gas and hydro dams.
He said power tariffs would not be reviewed for another three years, adding that the last review was in April 1997.
Earlier, Telekom Malaysia chairman Datuk Radzi Mansur told the gathering that telephone users could buy pre-paid telephone cards if they did not want to pay monthly rental.
However, they would have to acquire another type of telephone set in which the pre-paid card could be inserted into it, he said.
He also said that a task force would be formed to look into complaints about telephone poles on roads which were being upgraded.
In another development, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association president Datuk Hamdan Adnan said the rental increase was unfair to the public because of the company’s big annual profits.
“It is unfair to tax the public when Telekom reduced the international rates at the expense of increasing local rental charges.”
“Telekom Malaysia should be more socially responsible,” Hamdan added.
The Government, he said, should provide more incentives to other companies to offer fixed line services.
“Telekom Malaysia has been having its way far too long. The company is also not giving in to other telcos as it is overcharging for interconnection,” he said.
For its financial year ending Dec 31, Telekom Malaysia posted a group profit after tax of RM1.08bil on a revenue of RM9.8bil.
In 2001, it made a revenue of RM9.67bil while its profit after tax was RM1.84bil.
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