Thursday, November 30

‘Exorbitant charges’ make advertising companies see red


THANK YOU: Hii (right) hands over a fruit-basket to Wong, witnessed by Lau during the Mooncake Festival.


SIBU: Members of the Association of Sarawak Advertising Companies (ASAC) are appealing to the state government to reduce the “exorbitant” advertisement charges imposed on advertising billboards.

Its president Oliver Lau Hui Hee said the charges were unreasonably high and that it could affect the survival of some of its members.

“In exercising their power under the existing Advertisement Act 2006, the state government and the local authority have been imposing a charge of RM350 per cubic metre for huge-sized advertising billboards.

“The rate is the most expensive and the most unreasonable in the country. The charge imposed in Peninsular Malaysia is only RM100 for the first cubic
metre and the subsequent charge is RM20 per cubic metre,” Lau said at ASAC’s Mooncake Festival last Saturday.

Among those present were Second Finance Minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh and the event’s organising chairman Hii Pee Long.

Lau lamented that charges were also imposed on advertisements printed on blinds.

“I feel this is unreasonable, unfair and unfriendly to us. We hope that the state government will seriously consider reducing the charges.

“In the past, the president, committee members and representatives of ASAC had, on numerous occasions, brought this problem to the attention of the minister concerned, state assemblymen, chairman of municipal councils and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry but until now there is still no satisfactory reply from them,” he revealed.

Lau said it was now tough to survive because television advertisements and newspaper advertisements had grown to become stiff competitors.

“If this problem is not solved soon, ultimately it would be the consumers who would have to bear the burden of increasing costs of advertisements,” he said.

Wong, who was the guest-of-honour, said his ministry had drawn up new and comprehensive guidelines for the advertising industry after a long study on the issue by a special committee set up by the ministry.

“The guidelines have been approved by the State Planning Unit and have been returned to my ministry. I will submit these guidelines to the State Cabinet for its approval during its meeting next month,” he said.

He added that once green light was obtained, his ministry would implement the guidelines immediately.

However, the ministry remained open to amendments should certain portions of the new guidelines remained inappropriate for the advertising companies and people concerned, he said.