SIBU: Operating from home for the last 13 years to safeguard consumers’ rights, a local consumers’ association is in dire need of funds to see it through another day.
Chairman of Consumers’ Association of Sibu Division, Simon Tiong, lamented that many of their programmes or activities had to be cancelled or shelved as they did not have funds to roll them out.
“We never had an office for our operations because we could not afford one. Hiring a full time staff to man the office is costly and may land us in hot soup as we do not have the financial might.
“We are just volunteers and have a job to make ends meet,” Tiong revealed to The Borneo Post yesterday.
He admitted that the lack of funding had compromised their effectiveness in elevating the awareness among consumers on their rights.
Using an analogy, Tiong described their association as a car without wheels.
He added that it was difficult to plan properly if the financial resources were not available.
“There are so many activities that we wish to carry out to benefit consumers, to better educate them on their rights but were let down by the problem of funding,” he grimaced, adding that he lost count on the last time they rolled out an activity.
Asked on the local populace level of awareness, he said they had yet to reach the level desired.
For instance, many consumers were lost when it came to complaints concerning defective houses or commercial shoplots, and the issuance of land titles.
On the contrary, he said consumers in developed countries were well-versed about their rights.
“If consumers are aware of their rights, they will not be easily manipulated by unscrupulous traders,” he said, adding that the Consumers’ Association of Penang is strong in administration and dissemination of information.
Tiong recalled that since helming the association he had been trying to source for funds to get the association moving.
He recalled that the former chairman had coordinated the association’s activities through a service centre.