Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Right To Confidentiality Of Personal Health Data Violated

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is distressed by the recent news that a group of hackers have hacked into the systems of both government and private hospitals and stolen the personal health data of tens of thousands of individuals - data which is then sold to pharmaceutical companies through information selling syndicates.

The implications of this cyber theft is terrifying because our government and various agencies are trying to get everything (banking transactions, filling forms, making complaints, etc.) to go “online”, as part of our green initiative; however, there is a high chance we don’t really have the security to back this move – as made obvious by this incident.  As it is, a news report has stated that 10,000 cyber crime cases are reported each year with an approximation of money loss equalling more than RM2.7 million; and the crimes largely involve online scams and hacking of computer servers.

Stop the motorcycle deaths

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable road users owing to the instability of the vehicle as well as the little or no protection afforded during an accident. This coupled with the attitude of motorcyclists and lax enforcement has created a national disaster on our roads. Neither the authorities nor the people are sensitive or serious about the situation. Deaths on the roads become mere statistics to them.

Each year on an average there are about 465,000 road accidents resulting in nearly 7,000 deaths. Sixty percent or 4,200 of the deaths are contributed by motorcyclists and 40% of that are motorcyclists in the age group of 16 to 25 years.

CAP Demands Inquiry On Firearm Incidents And Smuggling

CAP is utterly shocked and disgusted by the news of people being ruthlessly gunned down, now being more frequent. As such CAP is demanding the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to inquire into and recommend measures to curb firearm incidents in the country.

It appeared that the number of shooting cases had also escalated in recent months and some of the prominent cases were:

·         On 15 June, a businessman was shot dead in his car just after the Sungai Rasau toll plaza, Shah Alam.

·         On 21 June, a PKR politician Bill Kayong was shot in the neck as he stopped his pick-up truck at the traffic light junction in Lutong, north of Miri city.

·         On 6 July, a female real estate agent was shot dead and her daughter injured in a shooting incident at Taman OUG, Kuala Lumpur.

·         On 13 July, a man high on drugs allegedly shot his mother, brother, his two-year-old nephew and his mother's boyfriend with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in Batu Maung, Penang.

Traffic law enforcement should not be seasonal

Year after year we have Ops Sikap, now changed to Ops Selamat, to stop the carnage from our road crashes during our festive seasons. Malaysia was ranked 20th globally for the most road deaths in 2011, according to the World Health Organization. Eighteen people are killed daily in road crashes and according to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), the figure is expected to rise to 29 by 2020.

According to the traffic police chief, Mohd Fuad Abdul Latiff, the previous Ops Sikap didn’t work because the police advised the public to drive slowly, don’t jump queue and be patient. Ops Selamat, however, is about total enforcement. He cautioned that enough warnings have been given and on-the-spot action would be taken against errant motorists. Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), welcomes the strict enforcement and hopes to see a positive reduction in road crashes this Hari Raya.

 However, traffic law enforcement should not be seasonal. Strict enforcement must be an on-going, not a seasonal ritual to coincide with festivals.

Power Banks or Sand Banks?

Consumers buying power banks for their handphones at bargain prices are being ripped off by unscrupulous traders. We bought a few after consumers claimed that the power banks drained out very quickly compared to the size of the units.

Opening up to look at the inside, we discovered that there were cheap batteries for power storage and also sand-filled battery casings to make up for the weight of the power bank. The heavier it is, the more power storage capacity it is supposed to have and this is how consumers choose the power banks, by size and weight.