Telcos under investigation for increasing price of top-up cards

Several telecommunication companies (telcos) are being investigated for increasing the price of prepaid top-up cards in light of the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST), going against Customs Department instructions. In a Star Online report, journalist Joseph Kaos reports:

Pile of smart phones

Customs GST director Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy said some telcos have acted in contrary to a circular saying prices of top-up cards should be maintained even after the GST came into effect.

“Before the GST, the prices of top-up cards for prepaid services already included a 6% sales and services tax (SST).

“Now that the GST has replaced the SST, the tax rate remains the same. The tax (rate) is the same, but with a different name.

“We have sent letters to all telcos informing them not to increase their price after GST. However, there are one or two telcos that have gone against our instructions, so these companies will be investigated,” he said at a press conference held at the Finance Ministry building here Wednesday.

Subromaniam, however, noted that not all telcos increased the prices of their top-up cards.

“We are teaming up with the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry (KPDNKK) to investigate these companies and find out why they went against our instructions,” he said.

KPDNKK secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, who was at the press conference, said his Ministry received 418 complaints between 8am and 2pm Wednesday from consumers.

Out of 418 complaints, 33% were about top-up card prices, followed by 24% on prices of cigarettes, food and drinking water.

Sobramaniam said as of 3pm Wednesday his department had visited 480 companies to monitor the implementation of the GST and found that 90% business owners had complied with instructions.