Things have not been going well for the RFID rollout and former, so much so that our former Prime Minister has decided to chime in over a Facebook post.
In it, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has questioned the exorbitant prices that the RFID stickers themselves are being sold at. Malaysians have to pay RM35 for a self-stick kit and are left to install it on their cars themselves when apparently a pack-of-10 unbranded RFID stickers can be bought from an online retailer for a little over RM3.
In his post, he also detailed market caps for CIMB and their (reported) over RM1.16 billion profits last year from Touch n’Go, questioning why the Rakyat is still being charged RM35 for a trivially basic piece of adhesive plastic and metallic strip?....Even if they'll replace 'faulty' examples.
He then suggests that the RFID stickers be given out for free to encourage a wider adoption rate, especially given how Malaysian road users are being forced to migrate away from SmarTAG for a new system that seems to be just as unreliable and, in many ways, more inconvenient.
After all, during the pilot phase of the RFID implementation from 2018, the stickers were given to early adopter motorists without cost, proving that Touch N’Go were at one point willing to provide the item for little or no charge.
With a much higher volume of cars now having to (forced to) use RFID, and will be subsequently reloading their eWallets to do so, wouldn’t it make more sense now to just give them away FOC in the name of a stronger uptake?
In the wake of this, many Malaysians have been taking to social media to express their own frustrations with RFID and its botched rollout. According to a report by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the Malaysian Highway Authority (Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia, or LLM) has moved to address some of these concerns with PLUS and Touch n’Go.
These discussions are reportedly aimed at tackling the biggest shortcomings of RFID and its user experience while also looking into price reductions on the stick-on tags themselves. We'll see what happens.