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Fiber Broadband, Malaysian Consumers Take to the Street
August 14th was the first time in Malaysian history that a protest took place attended by consumers who were frustrated about fiber broadband prices in Malaysia. The protesters consists of SME/SMB operators that belonged to a small community of thriving business people in Selangor.
With frequent outage and relatively slow performance, the protesters took the streets by occupying P1, a local telco located in the heart of Petaling Jaya - Jalan Templer. According to one of the protest leaders, they have been visiting other telcos to voice out their concern but only to be booted out from their offices which makes them so determined to get their voices heard.
As anger builds up from their telco to telco visits, they decided to 'occupy' P1 instead where the HQ was located in a shared building with it's mother company - Green Packet. P1 was their last resort in getting cheaper fiber because P1 was a smaller player compared to other 'stubborn' telcos and they learnt about P1's CEO - Michael Lai who have been a reasonable man and a man of words.
Demonstrators were seen holding banners and placard chanting "We Want Fiber" and "Fiber Cheaper, Business Better" during the protest. Surprisingly, the police was 'quite' cooperative compared to their hard-handedness in dealing with previous demonstration organized by Malaysian opposition parties.
No signs of brutality recorded and not even a single shot of tear gas and water cannon were fired to the protesters despite their swelling presence on the roadsides of Jalan Templer. There were pocket of unwanted incidents when overzealous protesters mobbed the CEO's car upon arrival to the building. Guarded by the telco's security, the charismatic CEO walked to the entrance and addressed the crowd asking them to calm down so he can speak.
The protesters voiced grouses to the attentive CEO by taking turns as each of them representing the industry they came from. At one point, Michael offered slight reduction as suggested by his advisers who were seen whispering to him. The crowd demanded more reduction which ended up the CEO agreed with their demands hence greeted with jubilant joy from the crowd. The resistance of his advisers didn't manage to stop Michael Lai to give in to the demands of the protesters which was seen as a 'surprising' bold move.
Many did not believe that the demonstration really does the trick but sceptics will observe if P1 really fulfil what they say! However, the protesters thanked P1 for the deal and their successful demand for RM99-5Mpbs and RM199-20Mbps was quickly becoming the cheapest fiber plan in Malaysia achieved from a peaceful protest.
After all, who says peaceful demonstration cannot yield results?