CAP: Subtle dangers lurk behind online transactions

Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing online markets in the ASEAN region. Malaysians use the internet extensively for news, research, social networking and online shopping. With 19 million people online we have the highest penetration of online shoppers supporting a RM25 billion business which is poised to double by the year 2020. However, are all online shoppers prepared to swim in an ocean infested with sharks?

Ecommerce is on the rise owing to several advantages such as the convenience of shopping online, price advantages, exclusive deals and availability of reviews. Booking of airline tickets, hotel rooms, cinema tickets, payment for utility bills, transaction with government agencies and banking have all gone online. Consumers making transactions with such sites or popular online shopping sites seldom face any issues, provided they follow proper procedures and don’t get conned by phishing sites.


The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is shocked that our personal information databases are unsafe, seen from the barrage of news concerning “personal data theft” and “illegal sales of personal data” these last few weeks. We are concerned whether our country is prepared for the digital economy.
The majority of our transactions today are done online. The push towards the digital economy comes in many different forms – businesses give special discounts for online purchases, banks penalise those who use counter services and government agencies, such as EPF and SOCSO, are making it mandatory for contributions to be deposited online. Even income-tax filing is going online.


The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has over the past decades been advocating rental housing as the most logical move to embrace but apparently both the government and the developers have been promoting house ownership instead.

Khazanah Research Institute managing director Datuk Charon Mokhzani stated that rental housing schemes such as the People’s Housing Programme is the way forward. He cautioned that the government should ensure an efficient use of resources, be wary of exhausting resources for the sake of encouraging home ownership as there are other alternatives such as renting and rent-to-own schemes.