OUTA is pleased with the opinion expressed by the head of National Consumer Commission, Ebrahim Mohamed, as reported today in The Times today in the article “Sanral Must Fix Billing”.
The message in this article is one that is echoed by common sense and reiterates the message we have shared for years now, being that ‘laws are only as good as they are governable’. Sanral can say whatever it likes and can have the regulations written to suit its irrational processes, but unless it is acceptable to the people and practices sound business principles, it will never garner the support required to make it work.
OUTA have now received over a thousand complaints from the public over the past three weeks and the veracity thereof has convinced us that Sanral’s billing process contains significant errors and problems, giving the public every right to reject their invoices from Sanral. “This pay now and query later attitude by Sanral is unacceptable” says John Clarke, spokesperson for OUTA.
OUTA is often accused by Sanral of promoting ‘defiance’ and ‘civil disobedience’. In truth Sanral is practicing ‘business disobedience’ by expecting users of the freeways to pay without affording them the courtesy of normal invoicing and billing procedures. “Such ‘Stalinist’ tendencies only serve to heighten confrontation and delegitimize the obligations of the road users in accordance with Sanral’s rules and the laws they have managed to bring into being. Contractual obligations between parties in a business relationship need to be logical and reasonable. Government agencies who abuse their power, effectively cash in their authority and legitimacy and erode the rule of law whilst undermining social cohesion,” said Clarke.
Sanral must start to realize that its aggressive and threatening approach to the citizens of this country is doing them no favours. Even those who have fitted e-tags have done so begrudgingly and out of fear of Sanral’s incriminating threats, which are now being met with heightened resistance. OUTA is also concerned about the hundreds of thousands of poor road users who are not connected to the internet and who live far from Sanral’s customer service centers and for whom, the e-toll conditions are not understood, extremely onerous and difficult to comply with.
OUTA repeats its call to the authorities to suspend the irrational and inefficient e-toll system and to seek input from all stakeholders for the most efficient method of raising funds to pay for the freeway upgrade, one that must ultimately have the acceptance and support of the people.