Petition won’t stop me from speaking for the people, says Gobind

Gobind Singh Deo answers reporters’ questions in Parliament November 21, 2018. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Gobind Singh Deo answers reporters’ questions in Parliament November 21, 2018. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo asserted today that he will not allow any petitions obstruct him from doing his ministerial duties.

Referring to an online petition demanding that he resign as minister after his criticism of monopoly service provider Telekom Malaysia (TM) Bhd, the minister said the petitioners are free to initiate it.

“My advice to all of them and the telecommunication companies is this: Improve yourselves and all Malaysians will support you,” he said to reporters at the Dewan Rakyat here.

Gobind said it is his duty as a minister holding the communications portfolio to question and try to improve things, and to find ways in which that can be done.

When told that the petition’s creator held him responsible for negatively impacting TM’s share price, he said there were numerous other reasons for that.

“How can you blame me? Are you saying to me there are no other reasons?” Gobind said, referring to the share price fall.

“Let us be realistic. At the end of the day, if you look at the pricing, it has gone down even for other telcos. But they also reported an increase [in subscribers] and other benefits as well.”

He acknowledged concerns about TM’s share price, but said it did not mean he, as a minister, cannot ask questions or speak up on the matter.

“You must remember customers are important. And I firmly believe TM has a lot of potential in both the country and even the region.

“When you talk about how prices are faring, I do not think it is correct at all [to hold me solely responsible] as there are many factors affecting the prices,” Gobind added.

The petition appeared on Monday and demanded Gobind resign due to his alleged “negative bias towards TM” after he condemned the company for not being able to reduce Streamyx subscription fee prices and for lacking transparency in customer communication.

It also claimed his statements resulted in TM losing almost RM12 billion in market capitalisation and share price, starting from when he took office.

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