Sunday, June 14, 2009

Worst-Run Telco in the Known Universe!

Every time there's a problem with my phone line or Streamyx connection, I find myself sucked into the Twilight Zone. That's what dealing with Telekom Malaysia feels like.

Kafkaesque is the word that immediately springs to mind whenever I have had any dealings with this dinosaur-like organization which is undoubtedly a top contender for Worst-Run Telephone Company in the Known Universe. On Thursday afternoon my Streamyx connection went down and now, more than 72 hours later and half-a-dozen time-wasting, blood-pressure-raising calls to the human robots at TM Customer Support, it mysteriously remains down. I've been forced to post this using my Jaring dial-up account.

Why should this be so? In the first place telecommunications is no longer a luxury - it's an essential part of our everyday lives - and therefore ought to be ranked together with public utilities like water and power supply as basic infrastructure necessary to the normal functioning of a nation. None of these vital services should ever be placed in the hands of uncrupulous profit-driven businessmen.

Instead the government would do well to declare water, power, telecommunications, education, housing, medical care and food production as essential community services that are every citizen's birthright. In effect, they must be managed as bona fide public services, not as opportunities for Umno cronies to make a huge killing. As things stand, the mounting anger and frustration the public feels towards Umno/BN is being projected against damnable monopolies like TM and TNB - and rightly so, as these monolithic (and embarrassingly monoethnic) organizations wouldn't survive 6 months without Umno protection.

Tenders for the operation and maintenance of these essential services can be opened up to private enterprise at a stipulated management fee paid for out of the public purse. The contract must be renewed every year and if the company is found to be underperforming and there are too many complaints, it will lose the contract. Quality control has to be absolutely stringent.

Management objectives have to be focused on delivering optimal service at minimal operational cost, without incurring financial loss. Profitability will not be a motivating factor as it is counterproductive and myopic to turn essential services into profit-driven enterprises.

Instead, those who wish to be in profit-driven businesses ought to become producers of wealth in the form of intellectual property and creative assets. In other words, the production of original artefacts - whether in the form of music, movies, artwork, software, or new inventions - will be the only legitimate means of earning unlimited profits and general applause.

Extracting unlimited profit from essential services invariably leads to massive inefficiency and results in our being forced to suffer substandard services, generation after generation. These are the unmistakable hallmarks of retarded economies - notwithstanding the grandiloquent architectural display of the purely superficial trappings of "success."

This is something I would like the new Pakatan Rakyat government to study in depth even before it takes over the reins of power from Umno/BN. Gigantic monopolies which began during the Mahathir era (like TNB, TM and Syabas) created through crony capitalism and unwholesome privatization must be dismantled and the field opened to new players with the wherewithal to deliver on promises.


backStreetGluttons said...

It has been acknowledged by the alert and the smart and the concerned ( like yourself ) that our country is run by grossly incompetent UMNO warlords/cheats at large. There is always something sinister when apparently noble development projects such as buildings , infrastructures and the like as proposed by the gomen always end up in the hands of cronies of the ever despicable kind under the pretext of bangsa dan agama, as when something goes wrong and the need for scapegoats arise. When the official cheats dunno how to cheat properly,then the country is doomed...

We can't wait for the current wobbling Resistence to hold there reins of power but knowing history , even such a salvation will be shortlived.

Anrares...we need the help of the Force..over to you

Anonymous said...

What is the Multimedia Commission doing?
Don't they monitor the telcos' grade of services?
Actually all of them gives lousy services-poor coverage,dropped connections and even prolonged service interruptions!

Worse try to contact them. You get put on hold if you get through and to top it all get charged for holding to get service.

Starmandala said...

BSG - Don't eexpect any help from the Polis Force! If you're referring to the Mysterious Force spoken about in hushed tones by Obi Wan Kenobi, I'm inclined to believe that the Force works through each of us who consciously decides to embody it!

Anon @ 9:00PM - The Multimedia Commission has got its hands full trying to find a way to shut up all anti-Najib, anti-Umno bloggers. They would love it if Malaysia decided the Internet is an evil Western concept that will undermine "Asian Values" and chooses to ban it completely :-)

Unknown said...

Perhaps we need streamyx users like Antares and yours truly to sing the streamyx horrible and irritating tune which they play when they ask us to hold on endlessly (I have patiently held on for twenty minutes on one occasion!!!) before they pull up their socks???

It was such a riot when Antares and I were singing the tarn ...tarn ..tarn unison just now LOL!!! In such moments of madness, we have to laugh to keep our sanity!!!

The Phoenix Foundation said...

Your Rantings must have real life situations & here goes:
1}I have been a TM subscriber since 1985.
When TM went broadband , I signed up but was charged extra RM88/- over month.
For over 3 years , I paid some RM145/-per month waiting for the bills to amalgate, as promised.
When that did happen, the bills were still the same/
Question: TM is one organisation,& therebore when it went broadband,why could they not transfer all existing lines to broadband?
Technically it is possible I know.
TM does not want to do it as it would mean it cannot fleece us of monies every month.
Maxis does the same thing.
Question: These Talcos have this dirty habit of not really identifying themselves.
Should they not have designated people to handle the calls/complaints/inquiries?
They have various regions carved up so what's the problem?
No! Mysterious persons take your call & you get lost.
And try going to the nearest TMShop, and you will be put through the washing machine!!!
2}Syabas , does exactly the same thing.
You go to the Office in charge of your area & the only matter,that will be attended to is your payment.
Any other matter will be noted & on the promise that it will be attended to asap, you go away,only to be visited by strangers later, who will then "examine" the problem & give you a no choice alternative - with a huge bill.
I was made to change my home's entire water pipe system at the cost of RM7,200/-, which later was found to be unnecessary,
for I had taken the pipes that were dismantled for analysis{I paid RM800/-} & the said pipes were found to be fine - not rusted - not spoilt - having another at least 10 years of life.
{These were original copper pipes}
3.TNB is exactly the same.
On Sunday last, at about 7.00am there was a power failure at home.
Thinking it was an area problem,which is very regular, I called the Careline , within the hour the team was at my home.
After checking, they informed me that one of my circuitbreakers was tripping.
As this CB was controlling the Refridgerator,Oven,Toaster & Rice Cooker, they suggested I get a contractor to sort it out
A Contractor appeared some three hours later{The Care Team} realized it was Sunday & that we were desperate as the whole family was at home {some 20 of us}.
A check was done & it was determined that the fridge was the problem - RM80/- for consultancy!
We have defrosted the fridge & will be checking today{Monday}.
Could not TNB have sorted the problem & billed me?

YOU ARE RIGHT!The Three Servoces are owned by our government.
Yet we have no say but to be screwed in style.Try argueing with them & mysteriously the services get cut,suspended,terminated & you will spend days to reconnect - this has happen to me.
{Incidentally - using a goggle account can be damning, as anyone can pick up the comments & have a hidden agenda on you - again - happened to me.

eiling lim said...

I totally whole-heartedly agree with you. It's so funny that people always complain about the server down in twitter and facebook and it happens so often and yet the people at TM doesn't feel a thing! And we are paying for those services!

Pat said...

I was sorry to hear about your line. It happens often, doesn't it? The lines going down? After a storm, ah?

We are so canggih - we think lah - but the lines go down when it rains! How kampung is that?!

My streamyx in KL is ok. I've no complaints except for the fact that I suddenly get cut-off for no apparent reason!

But Celcom, which I use in PD - what can I say? Broadband at it's worse. And I've no choice at all.

So, it looks like they've got us by the balls, doesn't it? And squeezing and squeezing and squeezing all the time! Very the pain, ah?!!

Anonymous said...

ARMNO cronies make the big bucks via the IPO, then his Director fees, salary & benefits & share options, then (non tendered) contracts to his family members and the cycle repeats itself when he joins another national asset that has been so called privatized.

Sadly, the work culture is still steep with civil service mentality despite the many years of privatization. Being forced to hire "rejects" of the civil service also doesnt help.

They will never get out of this vicious cycle. Its too ingrained in their system, in their work culture, in their attitude.

Anonymous said...

TM is a monopoly and wil forever remain so in the hands of ARMNO!!!

My rant is on the speed of broadband being offered in Malaysia...our fastest speeds currently is 4.0 MBPS (Telekom) for a whopping RM 268/per! Don't even start comparing it with mobile broadband providers claiming 10 mpbs....which is virtually crap any ways.

Just for comparison...Singapore is kicking off their high speed broadband of 100 MBPS...I say again 100 MPBS for a monthly fee of RM 175 (USD 50). And yet our gomen has the chick to say that our service here is the cheapest in the region....where in hell do they pluck these figures from??

Well...with all the rants that we post and blog surely goes no these organizations will continue to milk us as it's a super profitable business....only in Malaysia...why cos "Malaysia Boleh!"

I always tell my foreign counterparts/friends...welcome to boleh land...the place to get royally screwed!

Cheers buddies.

Anonymous said...

just wondering if your pc were struck
by the mighty sky at about 5pm on last saturday ? got mine fixed & now rm800 poorer , SIGH !