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Weekly Discussion #7: What happens to Corporate Malaysia if regulators start controlling pricing?

Posted on July 9, 2011, Saturday

The business environment has changed somewhat over the passage of time… the concern is when those in power, act without beyond their scope. Investors especially foreign and bankers become nervous and cautious especially when regulators start controlling pricing. An example is the on-going dispute between the Malaysian Commission for Multimedia and Communications (MCMC) and Astro over the prices for packages.

Being governed under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Astro has to comply with regards to facilities, services, applications and contents requirements. Pricing does not appear to be part of this requirement; hence it appears that Astro need not seek MCMC’s approval to revise prices. The Act is designed in such a way to allow market forces to determine pricing.

Rice, flour, milk, clothing, shelter even vehicle… these are basic necessities to life. For the sake of argument, one can say radio and television may be included as important… so we have RTM Radio and Television, even TV3 and NTV7 are available free with good aerial receivers. Astro on the other hand is a Pay TV provider and is commercially driven with investors to account to.

We viewers want better programmes, live sports, live coverage of world events etc… broadcasting rights costs have gone up and Astro provides the coverage… where do they get the money…? So if Astro want to revise their price packages… let them… According to the recent newsletter, the Family package of 38 channels still comes at RM37.95 while there are savings with other packages; those who take the sports package will have to fork out a little more…

Look at how much Astro has given back to the society… scholarships, opportunities… Astro has even given many Malaysians regardless of background a venue to develop their talents… Astro is pretty much Malaysian as Malaysian can get…The point here is… ‘Yes’… Astro makes money but they do give back to the society through many CSR projects

As always, customers have a choice. There is always free TV… If we want something better, we pay for it. It would be so pleasing if we didn’t lose the signal every time it rains…

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