Don’t only think of profits, consider nation’s security, telcos told


  • Nation
  • Monday, 20 Jun 2005

BY JONATHAN CHEW

KUALA LUMPUR: Making profits should not be the main consideration for mobile phone operators as they should help ensure the security of the nation, said Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik. 

He said the misuse of the prepaid service, including verbal insults sent through the short message service and phone calls, caused unnecessary problems to consumers and raised security concerns. 

Therefore, he said, telecommunications companies should voluntarily help the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to register the estimated 13 million prepaid users. 

“They must look after the country and people who use mobile phones,” he said after opening the new Ampang Gerakan multi-purpose hall here yesterday. 

Dr Lim, who is Gerakan president, said the Government had instructed the MCMC to plan a registration system for prepaid users. 

The exercise is expected to start by the end of this year. 

Reasons for having the system include enabling the authorities to track criminal and terrorist activities and to curb the distribution of pornographic materials. 

Recently, DiGi Telecommunications chief executive officer Morten Lundal was reported to have said that the move to register users was “unnecessary” and it would be better for the industry to regulate itself. 

At present, anyone can walk into a phone shop and buy a prepaid mobile SIM pack without having to register with the service provider. 

As at December last year, 83% of 14.6 million mobile phone users were prepaid users. 

Members of Parliament last year called for the mandatory registration of prepaid users after complaining that some users abused the service by sending poison text messages. 

Countries like Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan have recently begun registering prepaid mobile phone users.  

The Thai government made the measure effective from May 10 to stop terrorists from using prepaid SIM cards as fuses to detonate bombs. 

In Taiwan, buyers must show two forms of identification to buy a prepaid card and operators are penalised if their records are incomplete.  

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