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PKR Supreme Council member cum PKR Sabah Secretary, Dr Roland Chia Ming Shen questioned the need for prepaid mobile phone users to have to fork out 6% more as of Sept 15 despite telcos say they will no longer absorb the service tax which was introduced in 1998.

The 6% should be by way of TELCOS way of corporate social responsibility to the rakyat especially prepaid users make up the majority of customers in all telcos in Malaysia.

Most of the prepaid users are the students who do not have income at all and whose income are dependent on their parents; the retirees, the senior citizens also not forgetting the lower income group who will be severely affected. This is equivalent to robbing the poor to give to the rich telcos towkays.

The latest statistics, according to sources in the respective telcos, show that DiGi has approximately 7.7 million prepaid customers, accounting for 83% of its total customer base of 9.3 million, while Celcom has approximately nine million prepaid customers (77% of 11.7 million) and Maxis has 9.5 million prepaid customers (74% of 12.8 million).

This does not augur well especially thousands and thousands of students nation-wide who are enrolling in both the government and private higher institution, this will definitely add to the burdens of their parents or themselves who needed extra funds for travelling and misc items before the new 2011 semester begins.

On the hand Pakatan Rakyat Government in Selangor is fully aware of the predicament of these students and parents and all Selangor born students are given RM1,000; when they enroll in any higher institution. This shows that the Pakatan Rakyat Government is a caring government.

On another aspect, the 6% service tax will also add financial burden to the rural poor especially in Sabah & Sarawak who relied heavily on such communications where fixed line telecommunication is hardly accessible. This inconsiderate move will definitely push them further down the poverty line.

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