6 Feb 2021, 9:12 am
LETTER | The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to cashless payments in most Southeast Asian countries to facilitate contactless transactions and further curb the spread of the virus.
Nevertheless, it is also crucial for us to be cautious because the method also has some drawbacks without us knowing it.
Indeed, cashless payment has become the most preferred payment method for both consumers and sellers in this pandemic era.
However, the blind use of cashless payments can have numerous adverse effects on people’s well-being, especially poor consumer behaviour, which is defined as a process through which an identifiable consumer group actually makes buying decisions.
Based on Accenture’s study titled “Covid-19: How consumer behaviour will change,” it is clear the crisis drives permanent changes in consumer behaviour. Consumer preferences have also been centred on the most basic needs, sending demand soaring for hygiene, cleaning and staple products, while non-essential categories are slumping.
Although it is definitely a positive thing to note that Covid-19 has triggered the high use of the cashless payment, individuals should be conscientious about its dire consequences, especially on how they spend and how much they spend on products.
Besides, the apparent factor of poor spending behaviour is that it can lead to panic buying, where individuals appear to overspend without even worrying about their financial condition.
February 6, 2021 @ 5:15pm
GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) has lauded statement by the Health director-general on price control to check on Covid-19.
CAP education officer N.V. Subbarow said it was a good suggestion, especially for those in the lower income group.
Currently, he said, the price of RT-PCR and RTK-Antigen tests at private clinics ranged between RM220 and RM388 and RM90 and RM170 respectively.
"If not controlled, the price may go up, just like the face mask previously.
"As such, we urged the consumers and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) to cooperate with the Health Ministry to regulate prices for test prices.
"There must be an understanding between the ministries involved in the Covid-19 tests.
"Strict action must be taken against any private clinic that charges it (the test) expensively. Everyone has to play an important role," he said
According to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the Health Ministry will try to control the price of the Covid-19 tests at private clinics to make it more affordable for the public.
February 5, 2021 @ 9:15am
KUALA LUMPUR: A 74-year-old retiree lost more than a million ringgit of her savings after falling victim to a Macau scam syndicate.
The elderly woman received a call on Sept 25 last year, purportedly from Pos Malaysia headquarters saying that they were holding a package containing an Identification Card (IC), a cheque book, and three bank cards under her name.
The call was then transferred to a man who introduced himself as Sergeant Fairul from the Sabah Contingent Police Headquarters. He told the victim that she was involved in a money laundering case and was under investigation.
The call was again transferred to another "policeman" named Si Wan, who threatened the victim by saying that she would be arrested and remanded if she refused to cooperate throughout "their investigations".
"Frightened, the victim obeyed all orders by the scammers and gave away her bank account information to Si Wan, and transferred RM833,000 from her Tabung Haji account into her Maybank account," Petaling Jaya District police chief Assistant Commissioner Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal said in a statement.
He added that on Oct 5, 2020, Si Wan asked the woman to hand over her Maybank card, which he claimed was needed to withdraw the money for auditing purposes in the money laundering case she was supposedly under investigation for.
Nik Ezanee said on Oct 6, 2020, following Si Wan's instructions over the phone, the victim went to the Atria Shopping Mall and placed her Maybank card on top of a letterbox as instructed.
February 3, 2021 @ 2:45pm
GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) has urged consumers to be wary when buying laptops or computers (either old, refurbished or new), especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was because they were potential targets for scammers or opportunists who prey on people making hasty decisions during such times.
CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader also called on the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) to continue monitoring the sales of computer and computer equipment.
He said with the emergence of online businesses and students having to study online, there had been a spike in demand for laptops or computers.
"CAP wants to caution people wanting to purchase such devices or equipment to be wary of three particular things namely scams, warranties and prices.
"Try not to purchase through social media such as Facebook or WhatsApp because it is not possible to know the reliability of the seller.
"It would be advisable to acquire a second-hand or refurbished equipment from someone you know and preferably known to be reliable. The reason is that, if there is anything wrong, you can easily find the person as compared to one who lives far away.
"There have been cases of people buying electronic items from other states only to discover that the equipment is defective," he said today.
Mohideen cited the case of a woman who had purchased a "deal of a lifetime" iPhone, only to find a rusty lock (without any key) inside the parcel she received after making payment.
February 3, 2021 @ 9:30am
KUALA LUMPUR: ConsumeR groups are urging the government to set a price cap on Covid-19 screening as a move to encourage mass community testing.
They claimed that allowing healthcare facilities to set their own prices for screening had resulted in rampant profiteering.
A survey by the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) found that the cost for Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (Rt-PCR) test started from as low as RM100 and could go up to RM580, while the cost for screening using the Rapid Test Kit-Antigen (RTK-Antigen) ranged from RM50 to RM350.
Fomca president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason said it was high time the government standardised the cost for Covid-19 tests, similar to how the price for face masks was capped under controlled items.
"We are facing (a health) emergency, yet many irresponsible healthcare facilities are cashing in on the crisis by charging exorbitant fees for the tests.
"This profiteering must stop. The cost for RTK-Ag test should be capped at RM70 maximum," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Although the Rt-PCR test is considered more accurate, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had, on Jan 22, twittered that the RTK-Ag could be used as a confirmed test result if the healthcare system was overburdened.
He said the RTK-Ag test could be used when the turnaround time for Rt-PCR test was longer than 72 hours or when the Rt-PCR test was not available.
However, he said, the RTK-Ag test kit must have a sensitivity of more than 80 per cent, and the kit's specificity should exceed 97 per cent.
Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called on the government to place the RTK-Ag test kit as a price-controlled item to lower the screening cost.
February 2, 2021 @ 5:57pm
KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) has put forward three demands to the government in the wake of the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0.
On the extension of the MCO until Feb 18, Fomca president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason said the onus is on the government to ensure people "have food on their table."
"Firstly, the government must extend the blanket loan moratorium in tandem with the MCO extension.
"Secondly, the government must distribute a RM5,000 allowance for workers who have been retrenched due to the implementation of the MCO.
"Thirdly, the government should also provide a RM1,200 allowance, or the minimum wage amount for unemployed individuals," he told the New Straits Times today.
The three measures, he said, are important to ensure that Malaysians can weather the economic uncertainty as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation.
"We constantly hear the government telling us that they have to strike a balance between lives and livelihood.
"Now is the time to deliver on that," he said.
Selasa, 2 Februari 2021 @ 2:42 PM
Kuala Lumpur: Seorang pekerja swasta kerugian RM3,600 selepas tersilap melayari laman sesawang bank palsu menggunakan komputer riba, kelmarin.
Azizul Osman, 38, berkata, dia melayari laman sesawang bank terbabit ketika berada di rumahnya di Bandar Baru Bangi, pada 3.38 petang.
Menurutnya, pada mulanya dia tidak menyedari laman sesawang itu bukan yang sebenarnya dan seperti biasa memasukkan kata pengguna serta kata laluan.
"Saya kemudian menerima TAC (kod pengesahan transaksi) dan dikehendaki mengisinya di dalam laman sesawang bank terbabit, saya hanya mengikut arahan itu.
"Selepas itu barulah saya sedar seperti ada sesuatu tidak kena sebelum memeriksa semula menggunakan telefon bimbit, namun terkejut apabila mendapati wang di dalam akaun bank hilang," katanya ketika dihubungi, hari ini.
Azizul berkata, terkejut dengan kejadian itu, dia kemudian terus menghubungi pihak bank untuk menyekat akaun terbabit.
"Bagaimanapun wang itu tidak dapat dikembalikan kerana difahamkan individu yang mengambil wang itu sudah menggunakannya untuk permainan dalam talian.
February 1, 2021 @ 10:48am
KUALA LUMPUR: Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) said the time has come for the government to revamp the Covid-19 policy as the current approach was a total failure.
Its secretary-general Datuk Dr Paul Selvaraj said the country needs to be "intelligent with a little bit of common sense" to lead the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is indeed sad that the fight against Covid-19 is led by insensitive, and unintelligent leaders. The latest announcement by the Minister (Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob), though there is no law, is that resident managements have the right to allow only those who have taken Covid-19 tests to enter their apartment.
"No wonder the fight against Covid-19 is a massive failure. Health failure as cases keep going up. Economic failure as people continue to suffer, without adequate financial support, when they lose their jobs or incomes," he said in a statement today.
Selvaraj described the recent move as a consumer protection failure.
"Implementing that at the border is crucial, implementing it at your own home is absurd and senseless."
Selasa, 26 Januari 2021 @ 1:51 PM
Petaling Jaya: Menyamar sebagai 'rakan' atau 'saudara' dengan memberi alasan menggunakan nombor telefon baharu. Itu taktik penipuan dalam talian menyebabkan kerugian RM250,000 yang dikesan di daerah ini sejak tahun lalu.
Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya Asisten Komisioner Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal berkata, dalam keadaan negara berdepan pandemik Covid-19, ramai mencari jalan pintas untuk mendapatkan wang dengan cara mudah.
Menurutnya, setakat inu pihaknya menerima sebanyak 78 laporan polis berhubung penipuan urusan pinjaman wang dalam talian sejak Januari tahun lalu sehingga kini.
Katanya, kebanyakan kes penipuan itu menggunakan modus operandi menyamar sebagai rakan atau saudara bagi urusan pinjaman wang.
"Berdasarkan keterangan daripada mangsa-mangsa, suspek mulanya akan memperkenalkan diri sebagai 'rakan' atau 'saudara' dan memberitahu nombor telefon yang digunakan itu adalah nombor baharu kerana nombor telefon asal hilang.
"Malah, suspek turut berjaya memperdaya mangsa dengan meniru suara sebenar atau mirip suara rakan atau ahli keluarga mangsa," katanya dalam satu kenyataan, hari ini.
Nik Ezanee berkata, suspek menggunakan profil WhatsApp memaparkan gambar rakan mangsa membuatkan mereka bertambah yakin bahawa rakan terbabit sedang dalam kesusahan dan ingin meminjam wang.
January 24, 2021 @ 3:26pm
KUALA LUMPUR: Consumer groups are calling on Bank Negara to include them in negotiations related to easing the expenses of those who are forced to go to private hospitals due to the pandemic.
Malaysian Muslim Consumer Association lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said consumer associations should be given a seat at the table during these discussions.
"This is due diligence. We need to ensure people's interests are protected and there are no loopholes for others to manoeuvre the discussion against this spirit.
"We can't, for instance, have the cost for private hospitalisation for Covid-19 or otherwise covered in exchange for higher premiums," he said, adding that the association had received lots of insurance cases recently.
He said opening up discussions to associations such as theirs would enable people to gauge whether the terms and conditions were impressed on the insurance providers.
"The overarching fact is that Malaysia is facing an emergency and everyone has to tackle it together.
"And this means that all stakeholders, be they the government, private hospitals or patients, must absorb the costs together, equitably."
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