Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

CAP: Subtle dangers lurk behind online transactions

Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing online markets in the ASEAN region. Malaysians use the internet extensively for news, research, social networking and online shopping. With 19 million people online we have the highest penetration of online shoppers supporting a RM25 billion business which is poised to double by the year 2020. However, are all online shoppers prepared to swim in an ocean infested with sharks?

Ecommerce is on the rise owing to several advantages such as the convenience of shopping online, price advantages, exclusive deals and availability of reviews. Booking of airline tickets, hotel rooms, cinema tickets, payment for utility bills, transaction with government agencies and banking have all gone online. Consumers making transactions with such sites or popular online shopping sites seldom face any issues, provided they follow proper procedures and don’t get conned by phishing sites.


A survey carried out by CAP past few days has shown an significant increase in the price of coriander leaves, daun bawang, asam jawa and garlic.

CAP found that the price  has increased from between 10% to 200% over the last one week.

Abolish the Service Charge

The Consumers Association of Penang is surprised not only by the fact that our government has given in to pressure so easily and allowed the service charge to remain, but also at the reason given as to why the charge is necessary. The statement made by the secretary-general of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, is that “the basic wages in some hotels is RM350.00” and that “potential employees will shy away from working in the industry if the take home pay is too low”.

Need to review role of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission

CAP today calls on the Ministry of Information Communications and Culture to take action against the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for failure in playing their role as a regulatory body for multimedia matters.

This call is made in view of the uprising number of complaints made by consumers against Content Providers in ripping off consumers through their various modus operandi. It is bad enough that multimedia users are subjected to spam, spoofing, fraud etc. to rip them off, but when licensed entities also rip consumers off by breaching the laws and regulations that they promise to abide with when applying for their licences, it is intolerable.


NO to hidden costs when eating out: Service tax and service charge should be included in the prices advertised

Consumers should always know exactly how much is the price of their food and drinks before they purchase them.  Thus the price of any food or beverage should automatically include extras like the 6% service tax (to be paid to the government) or/and where applicable, the 5-10% service charge (to be paid to the waiter).  The present practice of putting a notice saying (often in fine print) that there will be a 6% service charge and 10% service charge added on to the price on the bill is not fair to consumers.