Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hi Air Selangor, I am totally unimpressed!

For non-Malaysian friends of mine, Air Selangor is not an airline. It is the water supply monopoly in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. However, it is still a private company.

My son decided to buy a bigger unit at the highest floor of the condominium he is now staying. No sooner had the balance of the purchase price been paid than the vendor’s law firm went ahead to terminate all the utility services. We did not know until we found there was no electricity when we went there to organise some renovation plans. Apparently, the vendor’s lawyer had informed my lawyer, who might have overlooked to advise us. But courtesy would dictate that the purchaser was given a week or two before the services under the vendor’s name were terminated. The termination of the electricity supply also affected the water supply since the latter to the unit was powered by a pump. We had no choice but to rush to these utility offices to try to reconnect the supply.

Tenaga Nasional, or the power monopoly, was superb. Fearing long queues, I went early to the nearest office. I was the first customer and within minutes, everything was done. The technician came in the afternoon and had the supply reconnected. A big bravo to you, Tenaga Nasional!

The same morning, we drove to the nearest office that was stated in Air Selangor’s website. It was closed! There was a notice asking consumers to go to other offices of theirs. We proceeded to the one at Pantai Bahru.

I had in the previous evening visited Air Selangor’s website to try to download all the forms that had to be filled and signed. But the prescribed copy of the agreement was no way to be downloaded in a manner that could be printed by a home computer. It was in a double A4 format! I also typed out an authorization letter signed by my son for me to act for him in the application.

Oh, the queue was long! I was directed to see a “gatekeeper” first.

“Where is agreement?” He asked. I told him there was no way I could download it from Air Selangor’s website. He handed me a set. They must be signed by my son.

 “You are not the owner, right? Where is the authorization letter?”

I showed him what I have prepared, he mumbled something to the effect that it was not the language they would accept. I have been using the same format in many other instances. I just could not understand what he was talking about. He also told me that I had to take a picture of the meter. I was very exasperated with the demand for such a simple service application. In many countries, everything could be done over the Internet.

The visit was a futile exercise since I could not submit the application without my son’s signature on the documents.

In Malaysia, we usually use “runners” to do this stuff for us. While I was trying to enquire for one, one of the condo’s executives volunteered to do the submission for us. I thanked him profusely.

More than a week later, this kind man telephoned me.

“Mr Lim, I visited Air Selangor, they said the owner must personally do the submission.”

What a rubbish. He was just telling a white lie. The checklist clearly said on-behalf application is allowed. Surely all the VIPs property owners - Tan Sris, Datuks, etc - will not want to personally go there to apply for a simple utility connection! I suspect he might have gone there but was deterred from the queue he saw.

Fortunately, the water man has not come to turn off the tap!

We decided not to go there ourselves a second time.

There was a queue. There was a notice saying senior citizens were entitled to priorities. But the attitude of the staff was simply dismissive. It was not being enforced, Period. But before I joined the queue, I had to overcome this same gatekeeper again. Again, he was trying to find fault with the documents. I simply told him off. Why was he trying to be difficult when Air Selangor was essentially a service provider? He said I could try my luck with the counter people if I insisted on proceeding to submit.

I did, and found the application was accepted and duly processed – after queueing for some forty-five minutes.

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