Following the months-long outcry by the Malaysian public to curb the woeful shortages of Touch ‘n Go cards, specifically, the newer NFC-equipped version, the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry has intervened. But has this solved anything?
In a statement, the KPDN said that immediate action has been taken to overcome the persistent shortage issue with a promise to churn out 3.5 million units by the end of 2023 in contrast to the 2.68 million produced in 2022, representing a roughly 30% ramp up in volume output.
As most Malaysians are already familiar with, the fact that the supply of cards were always outpaced by demand had led to many scalpers hoarding them to resell at exorbitant prices. This has been going on pretty much since the introduction of these ‘enhanced’ TNG cards.
“Through engagement sessions of the special task force led by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Azman Mohd Yusof, there are some immediate improvements that have been taken by TnG within the given one-week period.
“The company has increased the number of cards up to 3.5 million in 2023 compared to 2.68 million cards in 2022 and the company has sent proactive/pre-expiration reminders to TnG card users including notification emails also sent one month before the card expires,”
“On the issue of return and refund of card balances, the company will examine and implement the refund process immediately to the users after the concession company conducts investigation, verification and approval.
“On advocacy related to the TnG Visa card functions, the company has made improvements in communication and clarification of the use of the TnG Visa card to avoid confusion by displaying the notification “This is not a TnG card” before an application is made by the user.
“On the removal of unregistered card sales advertisements the company has taken immediate action by sending an official notice to the e-commerce platform to remove all unregistered TnG product sales advertisements,” said the ministry.
More broadly, 3.5 million cards in the span of one whole year is pretty lousy compared to the scale of manufacturing we’re able to witness today. Mind you, these are relatively simple and cheap to produce plastic cards – much different from the complexity of, say, smartphones, which are produced in the tens of millions each year (for each model).
With the 2.68 million produced in 2022, this means that by 2024, only about 6.2 million Malaysians will have received their new TNG card. Though the number of actual road users is difficult of conclude, this country has 33.3 million registered vehicles, up to 47.3 per cent are cars as of 2021.
Doesn’t seem like enough.