I HAVE always wanted to highlight the “rounding” mechanism (to the nearest multiple of five sen) for over-the-counter payments that was implemented by the government on April 1, 2008.
To recap, this mechanism applies to the total amount of a bill and not on individual items. Through the rounding mechanism, the total amount of a bill ending in one, two, six and seven sen will be rounded down while the total bill ending in three, four, eight and nine sen will be rounded up to the nearest multiple of five sen.
I have been paying most of my bills online, and I have noticed many statements showing a “rounded” total amount. This may seem like a small and minuscule sum to an individual but imagine the total amount of the extra sen that all of us, the rakyat, have paid unknowingly over the past years. This could have amounted to millions of ringgit!
Who benefits from this rounding mechanism, I wonder.
I see three situations of this rounding mechanism that have inadvertently placed the rakyat at a disadvantage to some extent.
Firstly, the rounding up of the amount in the total bill should be meant for those who still pay their bills over the counter, as the one sen coin is no longer legal currency and the smallest denomination is the five sen coin.
Secondly, the practice of rounding up should not be encouraged. Rounding down would be better, especially for those paying over the counter. Running down a maximum of four sen is not going to affect profit margins but would instead make customers happy.
Thirdly, for those who pay their bills online, they should pay the amount to the very sen and not the rounded-up sum. I do believe that in this day and age, millions of people have migrated to online payments obviously for convenience.
It would be interesting indeed to see if this matter will be given some thought by the powers that be, both in the government and private sector. Until then, we, the rakyat, are being robbed daily of our hard-earned sen.
MARTIN GOMES ,Melaka