KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — DAP MP Tony Pua warned Putrajaya today that its agencies would have to answer to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) if it forced taxpayers to pay for using the MyEmail service.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said the PAC would compel the agencies to answer for their decision and provide full details on the terms and conditions agreed to in the service contract.
Pua voiced his objection to the move “in the strongest possible terms”, saying consumers should not be forced to bear additional costs through the agencies for any bills delivered via email.
“If our local and foreign banks, as well as other utility operators in the country, can send my statements and bills to me via normal Yahoo and Gmail accounts, there is absolutely no reason at all for government agencies to be delivering emails via service providers that charge anything for its use,” he said in a statement handed out in Parliament.
Pua was referring to a report yesterday that Tricubes had approached four government agency clients — the police, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Road Transport Department and Employees Provident Fund — to use its email system and was about to start pilot trials with two.
The Malaysian Insider reported that the controversial push billing email service MyEmail had doubts that it could achieve its KPI target of 5.4 million subscribers by year-end.
Tricubes CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar said MyEmail now has only 3,000 subscribers, about three weeks after the official launch on September 14.
He added that the 3,000 subscribers were mostly ported over from MyEmail’s trial period prior to the official launch.
“We have no objection to government agencies negotiating with any commercial companies to provide better and more efficient services to the public.
“However, we are duly worried when the government starts to use taxpayers’ monies to pay for services which are either unnecessary or excessive,” said Pua.
He said the objection was not aimed against private innovative enterprises but was to prevent parties from manipulating “exclusive positions and restrictive government concessions” from profiting through rent-seeking or the “sheer ignorance” of government agencies.
To use MyEmail’s billing features, subscribers have to go through an added layer of security by authenticating their accounts using one of Tricubes’ biometric devices.
About half of the 3,000 subscribers have gone through the authentication process at Tricube booths that were made available during the trial period.
Listed on the ACE market, the financially-troubled Tricubes has been accorded GN3 status, putting it at risk of being delisted from the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange.
Tricubes reported a first-quarter (ended June) net loss of RM1.19 million on the back of RM1.14 million in revenue.
The company had earlier tried to get a waiver from Bursa Securities to comply with the GN3 requirements, but was unsuccessful.
The MyEmail is one of the projects Tricubes is banking on to diversify earnings away from its traditional core business of biometric security devices.