21st March 2023 - 3 min read
Several experts have weighed in on the government’s recent proposal to undo Touch ‘n Go’s (TNG) monopoly on the public transport fare and toll collection payment system, saying that the move will be a beneficial one. This is as it will not only offer users added payment options, but also create healthy competition.
Economic analyst at the business school of Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Associate Professor Dr Aimi Zulhazmi Abdul Rashid said that the government’s proposal could force TNG to upgrade its service quality, and in turn, resolve congestions at toll plazas. “Having competition will help improve TNG’s quality of services itself because healthy competition will have a positive effect on stakeholders. This will bring about many benefits to the users, including competitive, cheaper, and effective services,” he said.
Associate professor at the Putra Business School, Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff also shared a similar opinion, adding that this is because monopoly companies are at liberty to charge higher prices for their services when there is no check-and-balance to keep them in line. He explained that although toll rates are fixed and regulated by the government, TNG is free to provide unsatisfactory service at a high price since it has no competitors.
“Users have no choice, causing these monopoly companies to take advantage, for example through the sale of TNG cards and RFID tags at high prices,” said Dr Ahmed Razman, adding that implementing an open payment system that accepts various modes of payment will resolve this problem. He also said that it is crucial for the government to scrutinise the various options and ensure that another monopoly does not happen, since the main goal is to provide consumers with more payment choices.
Meanwhile, the director of the Institute for Social Science Studies at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Professor Dr Haslinda Abdullah stressed that the government’s decision to review TNG’s monopoly must have a direct effect on the users if it is to be considered as impactful. “The interest of these users, if given focus, will have a very positive impact on the existing government, but the decision must also take into account past agreements so that losses on the part of the government can be minimised,” she further noted.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had recently said that his administration will look into dismantling TNG’s monopoly of the highway toll collection system, and Malaysia’s transport system in general. Following that, Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that he has instructed public transport service providers and operators to adopt an open payment system so that commuters can use credit and debit cards to pay for their fares soon. He clarified, however, that his directive is not applicable to highway toll operators as these entities fall under the purview of the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), under the Ministry of Works.
(Source: The Edge Markets)
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It’s good that the monopoly be terminated. TnG really made life difficult for everyone by forcing customers to only go to their designated offices for card renewal, complain on overcharged and etc.