TM denies offering flexi working hours

Its CEO dismisses the alleged announcement — which had been circulating online — as rumours and fake news

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) has denied that it was offering a flexible working hours scheme to the staff with a 30% salary cut.

TM acting group CEO Datuk Bazlan Osman dismissed the alleged announcement — which had been circulating online — as rumours and fake news.

“We did not make any announcement on that at all. You can ask any of our staff,” Bazlan said when met with reporters at the unveiling ceremony of new UniFi broadband and mobile plans in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“So, we cannot comment on things that we did not announced. It could be gossips, rumours or fake news, who knows?” he added.

TM will lower the price of broadband plans in a progressive manner, taking into account stakeholders feedback on the matter.

A business daily reported last week that the company will introduce a flexible working hours option due to the reduction of the prices of highspeed Internet connection.

An image of the working hours option, allegedly taken during TM’s townhall meeting, has also been circulated online.

Meanwhile, Bazlan said the aspiration to offer high-speed Internet at an affordable price is an ongoing process that the company has been doing since the introduction of UniFi in 2010.

He said the journey will continue progressively. “We listened to the comments coming from our customers and other stakeholders including the government. We will keep reviewing, listening to customers’ demand accordingly and come up with new plans as we go along,” Bazlan said.

TM introduced four new plans that entail UniFi plans from as low as RM79 per month and speeds of up to 800Mbps (megabits per second).

The group lowered the price for its UniFi basic plan at 30Mbps by 56% to RM79 per month from RM179 for households with income less than RM4,500 per month.

For its “lite”, “advance” and “pro” plans, the Internet speed for these existing UniFi home customers will be upgraded up to 10 times of the current speed to a maximum 800Mbps under UniFi “turbo” plan.

This will be executed in phases starting Aug 15, 2018, and new customers who subscribed before yearend will enjoy the new speed in phases beginning 2019.

Since its inception in 2010, the UniFi plan started with 10Mbps at RM199, which then improved to 30Mbps in 2016 for the same price, before the new UniFi “turbo” plan was introduced.

Some 340,000 Streamyx users in UniFi areas will be upgraded to UniFi, or doubling existing speed for those who are not in the coverage.

TM is also reinstating the unlimited UniFi mobile postpaid plan for RM99 per month from July 15, 2018.

It is planning to expand its offering for small and medium enterprises in the future, in addition to its current homes and individuals customer base.

These new broadband plans were introduced following the call by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo who pledged a reduction by 25% in broadband charges as a result of the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing implemented on June 8.

TM has also revised its headline key performance indicators (KPIs) for 2018 in light of “intensifying competition, increasing business and operating costs, cautious enterprise spending and increasing regulatory pressures”.

Revenue growth is expected to come in at -1% or flat this year, while earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) is expected at RM1 billion.

Previously, the group had targeted revenue growth of 3.5% to 4% in 2018 and Ebit to be maintained at its 2017 level of RM1.09 billion.

Capital expenditure has also been revised to between 20% and 22% of revenue, from the high 20% as guided earlier this year.

Nevertheless, Bazlan remains unfazed on the prospect for TM as the company emphasises on revenue uplift from other verticals, increasing productivity and managing its cashflow better.

“UniFi is not the only revenue generator. We have 12 verticals including banking, healthcare, education and many others,” he said.

In line with more attractive UniFi plans, he said TM is targeting to improve its cost structure by increasing UniFi’s take-up rate from copper-based Streamyx to the fibre plan since maintenance cost is cheaper.