9 September 2020
Press statement by MCA Secretary General Datuk Chong Sin Woon
Online shopping a global trend; Slapping govt service charge counter productive
MCA disagrees to the proposal by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia as announced by its Deputy Minister Dato’ Zahidi Zainul Abidin to impose a service charge for any purchases done via the internet. As online shopping has now grown into a global trend, the government ought to promote and encourage consumers towards it, instead of acting on the contrary by levying a service charge. Such expenses will only increase the rakyat’s burden and create unnecessary obstacles.
Consumption patterns in recent years tends towards purchasing from websites. Online shopping activities have thus climbed substantially. The government should formulate policies and mechanisms to propel businesses and consumers to take advantage of this trend, so that society will be able to grasp the convenience and opportunities that arise from e-commerce. The severe impacts against the private sector by the Covid-19 pandemic necessitates the promotion of online business activities.
The government, in particular, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia should encourage, propel, protect online shopping by boosting the volume of e-commerce activities and upgrading network facilities, besides enhancing digital connectivity. It should also establish mechanisms to safeguard the rights of consumers and prevent cyber frauds.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, internet spending appears to be the safer approach as physical contact between people is reduced. Leveraging on website purchases is not only a contagion preventive measure, but all adds convenience to shoppers.
As many online shoppers hail from middle and low income groups, the items they buy are not set at high range prices. Purchases done are mainly in low quantities for daily-use household items. The planned government service charge will unduly drain their finances further and is totally pointless.
Consumers already have to bear the packaging and transport fees when the buy items online. This already covers the sales and service taxes. To increase revenue, the government should utilise other channels and reduce expenditures. It should not forget the common person on the street and small/micro businesses, and especially the rakyat from low and middle income groups.
Datuk Chong Sin Woon
MCA Secretary General