Public Bank’s security device for e-banking is finally free

When I applied for my business account with Public Bank two and a half years ago, I was told that we can only view our business bank account online. We can’t do any electronic transactions, that involve making payments for example. If we want to be able to make payments, we need to apply for a security device, a.k.a. MSC token I believe, which costs RM220. If I remember correctly, we need to pay a monthly or annual fee for the “privilege”! Rubbish I know, but we didn’t know it was this rubbish until we had opened the account. We didn’t bother to open another bank account, which we had considered, e.g. Maybank, because it can be rather tedious. So we paid KWSP, SOCSO, and whatnot over the counter or by cash. Had to endure queueing in the bank, many times, for long period of time too often.

Today when I tried to pay GST due for this quarter, via the customs’ portal, I thought I could pay via FPX, an online payment gateway, as I was able to proceed after having entered our Public Bank login credentials. But when it came to the final step, of executing the payment, it gave me a “Transaction unsuccessful” error. I was told to contact my merchant bank. Phoned up Public Bank’s Internet banking department, told the guy about the error. At the time I didn’t note down the precise error message. But the guy kept telling me that I should be able to make payment to the customs, even though I explained to him that I haven’t got the security device. But I already paid our GST at RHB Bank over the counter (Public Bank don’t accept GST payment over the counter, shocking!), so couldn’t try out paying online from Public Bank’s e-Banking portal as suggested. Half believing that guy, I hanged up the phone and went on to try paying one of our company’s utility bill. But again transaction unsuccessful. The precise error message is “No rule for transaction”. Armed with this error message, phoned them up again to grill them. This time the lady who answered the phone was able to explain to me that I need the security device. And it is free, I only need to apply for one from my home branch. Great! Why didn’t they make announcement, say via letter or something, that the security device is free? If you look up on the MSC token (see link above) on their website, it is still written there that you need to pay RM220. For such a big bank in Malaysia, they do seem very poorly run. Telephone support are not consistently trained, website not up to date, poor communication with customers on available products, only playing catch up when other banks are well ahead on the e-banking front, and pushing customers to other banks to pay for GST!

To be honest the banking industry in the UK is a lot more competitive than in Malaysia, and many years ahead. Seems that the owner and shareholders of Public Bank are just happy to rake in profit without giving much return to their customers since competition here is not as fierce. Rubbish isn’t it?

AEON Klebang couldn’t fill up retail spaces on opening day

Went to AEON Klebang on their opening day today. As expected, they did not manage to fill up all their retail spaces on their opening day. Instead of putting up green walls, like they did in Kinta City and Station 18 when a shop moved out, they are more clever here by putting up nice wall papers or allowing companies to set up booths to cover up the shame.

AEON Klebang ground floor
Underwater world wall papers and Subaru car road show to obscure three empty lots on the ground floor (opposite Baskin & Robbins).

AEON Klebang empty lot
Astro marketing booth and property road show to occupy retail space on ground floor.

Now to think about it, those nice scenery wall papers on the second and third floors are probably there for the same reason, rather than for shoppers to take photos!

Shops that are yet to open on the opening day are H&M (29th Oct), UNIQLO (30th Oct), Mango (Feb 2016!), Hush Puppies, Nandos, Black Canyon, and a few more which I couldn’t remember. But that is not going to dampen people’s excitement to flock to the new shopping mall. One caution for you all though is don’t let your little ones lean on or stand too close to the barriers that are erected to prevent you from falling down to the ground floor. They look and feel flimsy, and seem to be made of cheap materials. Very concerning!

UTC is one highlight of this government

Went to Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Ipoh town center, located at where Super Kinta used to be, to renew my daughter’s passport few days ago. It was a breeze. No queues, plenty of service counters. Photo of my daughter was captured on the spot using SLR cameras infront of their counters. No form needs filling up, as everything is already in their database. My daughter just needed to sign a document alongside with her tiny thumb print 🙂 After that waited 5 minutes to pay for the renewal. Costed us RM100 for a 5-year renewal. And we were told to come back in an hour to collect the passport. So from start to finish the whole process only took us an hour and a half. Superb efficiency. There are other government agencies and utilities offices there too where you can pay bills, renew identity card, settle fines etc. Very convenient. Definitely one of the few highlights under the Najib administration. Will go down well with their attempt to make Malaysia more attractive as a retirement destination.

Whilst on our way back, spotted that BeBe shop was no longer in business. This is the branch in town center, on the same row as McDonald’s.
image

Kinta City Shopping Centre not closing down!

So according to my “deep throat”, the ground floor of Kinta City Shopping Centre in Ipoh is going to be populated by F&B outlets, with existing (international?) retail outlets closed down after Chinese New Year in 2016. GUESS has moved out first, as written in my previous blog entry, with that lot currently labelled “Renovation in progress”, probably paving the way for the change next year (it is difficult to foresee tenant moving in just for a couple of months anwyay?!). And these F&B outlets can apparently have longer opening hours, probably till later into the night. Old Town White Coffee is going to move in, I heard.

This is good news to me, as I seldom buy clothing and such likes anyway. I definitely welcome more options on food. I think it will appeal to local customers too who like to do groceries shopping in Kinta City. In fact many families do like doing groceries shopping in AEON supermarket. So no, Kinta City Shopping Centre is not closing down. Far from it. It is, in my view, going to be transformed into a more functional shopping mall, with more emphasis on local customers. Bad news for those who harbour hopes that IKEA might move in. And it won’t be turned into a hospital, or airport, however ridiculous that may sound 🙂 What I’d really like to find out though is their new layout on ground floor. Should be interesting.

As for AEON Klebang, which is due to open next Sunday (21st October), there will be some duplicate retail outlets with those in Kinta City, e.g. Esprit, G2000, Giordano etc, for the next few months until CNY next year. I wonder if these shops get a bargain deal from AEON for keeping two shops running at the same time. It will be silly not to 😉

Updated on 16/10/2015:
G2000 Kinta City
G2000 has closed too, with a new fashion tenant to move in in November. Perhaps the ground floor make over happens after CNY next year.

Rubbish Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre

Thought I’ll send my MyVi to this Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre for a service having received a leaflet (below) from them in my letterbox.
Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre Promotion
Called them up, looking to confirm their location and the price for a service. The rep was okay on the phone, claiming that they are competitive on pricing, but unwilling to tell me further on their prices, saying that they can explain (their packages) better at the shop.

Okay, took the plunge anyway as I wanted to service my car before a trip to KL. It was fairly easy to find, with sign postings after I turned in from Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah Utara towards Bercham. Marketing wise, they seemed to have done alright, distributing leaflets, clear sign postings and okay rep on the phone. But that was about it. When I arrived at the shop, it was a different story. Those who were supposed to serve customer didn’t feel like they wanted to serve customers. I was brought in by a mechanic, to be fair. Initially there was one sitting in the shop, serving customer. Then came a in rep who didn’t bother to ask what I was there for. Another service rep sat down. So there were two idle reps not doing anything, at least not to me anyway. After waiting for a while, I asked what was I waiting for? Did they expect that I was their regular customer? As a new customer, I didn’t know what to expect! Considering that they put out leaflets to try to reach new customers, can their front desk reps at least be prepared that there might be new customers walking in through the door?!! The guy asked if I have made a booking. No, I haven’t. Actually I wanted to check on the price first. But that guy asked me to wait, presumably for my turn. So only one of the three could serve customers. For fxxk sake couldn’t they just hit me with a price list, or at least try to win me over with their service offerings, or anything?!! No, more waiting. They were like bloody bureaucrats.

When it was my turn, the “real” service rep called me over. Oh, he didn’t expect that I wasn’t driving a “new” car. And no, I haven’t got a service history booklet, as I bought the car second hand without one. Now get over it, okay?! Put my number plate into their system, came up with a name. No I’m not called X Y Z. What is the matter, do you expect everyone to come into their service centre first hand owners of Perodua cars? If they want to keep putting off new customers, keep that guy in the job. He’s brilliant at it! Asked for my IC number. No, I’m technically not your customer yet, why would I want to give you my IC number? I just wanted to check on the price first! Quoted RM250 for a basic service. Then my phone rang. Wife already found her way here after picking up my daughter. And I was still stuck checking on the price, which I should have already been given from the phone call.

Anyway with so much anger that I was unwilling to stomach any further, I sent my car to a known garage that is a little out of the way but at least they know how to deal with customers. Why customer services in Ipoh, or in Malaysia in general, so bad? Do they not give out training? And you know what, no one, and I really mean no one, smiled to me during my entire time in the service centre!

GUESS has closed in Kinta City Shopping Mall

Went to AEON supermarket in Kinta City Shopping Mall for some groceries shopping. On the way out, saw the GUESS clothing shop was clearing up.
image
GUESS
As you can see, all the manikins were gone. And the shop was very empty, with a few staff still packing away things. I suspect they are closing the outlet here and move to AEON Klebang. I wonder if there are more to come. With the space where McDonald’s used to be still vacant, l think the shopping mall might find it difficult to fill up the space behind by GUESS too. It is quite a large space to begin with, on the ground floor, facing the main entrance and next to where events take place in the mall. Rental will be very expensive that’s for sure. We’ll see.

Increased battery discharge when stationary

It’s almost a year since I got my BMW (F30). Been getting the following error message on the display every now and then.
Bimmer error message
Normally the blower fan kicks in first, whether the car is locked or not, before the error message appears when I start the car. Asked the Ipoh dealer before but they didnt seem to know anything about it apart from asking me to send the car in for observation. Lately I found out from Internet forum that I am not the only car owner suffering from this problem. Straight away rang the dealer to enquire. But haven’t sent the car over yet due to various commitments. Here is where I found out that others are having the same problem:
http://www.bmwclubmalaysia.com/newforums/index.php?/topic/37576-f30-increased-battery-discharge-message/