MyCC to monitor RFID at PLUS highways

The commission shares its assessment and concerns in the RFID implementation including enabling access to other payment platforms for the payment of tolls

by ANIS HAZIM / pic by BERNAMA

THE Malaysian Competitions Commission (MyCC) said it will consistently monitor the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) implementation across PLUS highways due to the increasing complaints by consumers on the issues.

CEO Iskandar Ismail welcomes the innovation, but he believes that the implementation of the system needs to be carried out effectively to achieve its objective.

“MyCC takes cognisance of the plans to ensure a seamless transition to RFID for highway users and the cooperation between PLUS Malaysia Bhd and Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd in the relevant toll collection system,” Iskandar said in a statement yesterday.

He said MyCC had shared its assessment and concerns in the RFID implementation including enabling access to other payment platforms for the payment of tolls not only via debit or credit cards but also other e-wallet systems.

“Taking into account the special responsibilities arising from the dominant positions of both enterprises in the relevant markets, MyCC will continue to monitor the situation from time to time and when any competition concern is identified, the Competition Act 2010 will be enforced,” he said.

He also stressed that innovation-related markets can create uncertainty.

“Thus, MyCC will work closely with the government to ensure these changes will always serve the consumers’ best interest,” he added.

Notably, MyCC will focus its efforts on consistently monitoring the development of the RFID in line with its role in championing and promoting the process of competition in the interest of all Malaysians.

On Tuesday, MyCC held a discussion with PLUS and Touch ‘n Go concerning the implementation of RFID to have a better understanding of the nature of the matter and the latest progress in relation to the implementation of RFID.

Several media reports stated that the RFID rollout in Klang Valley has resulted in massive traffic jams, especially during peak hours as more employees return to their workplace.

Other grouses included the price of the RFID sticker as well as the lack of Touch ‘n Go hub to reload the card.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Wednesday that the Cabinet decided for road users to be given the option of using either the RFID, Touch ‘n Go or SmartTAG at toll gates.

“Users must be given the freedom whether to use RFID, Touch ‘n Go or SmartTAG,” he was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.

If it is a pilot project, it will take time after several months then we will leave it to the motorists to decide. Eventually, if the RFID facilitates their journey, they will migrate to the RFID,” he said.

Newly formed Parti Bangsa Malaysia youth leader Na’im Brundage has attributed monopolies and other non-competitive practises as the reason behind the implementation blunder.

“Noting the long history of failures by the Touch ‘n Go electronic payment system, the government must begin seeking other alternatives and quell the long-standing monopoly of the company that for years have no reason to improve its system due to its strategic position of being the sole payment method available for Malaysians on the road,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Monopolies and other non-competitive practises such as it needs to be abolished and made unlawful if the country were to have any hope at competing with our neighbouring countries that are currently at the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs.”

MCA spokesperson Mike Chong earlier this week had said that Touch ‘n Go should go back to the drawing board and ensure that the system is ready before introducing it for mass adoption.

“Rolling out RFID is not something that can be done on a whim. The relevant authorities should ensure that the framework and mechanism are ready and stable so that road users can use it without worries,” said Chong.