MEASAT must explain and revoke within 48 hours the unfair and unlawful automatic upgrading of ASTRO Emperor Package

Press Statement
by John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd, the provider of ASTRO services must explain and revoke within 48 hours its notification to subscribers that it will automatically upgrade their subscription to include the ASTRO Emperor Package.

In a March 2003 letter to ASTRO customers signed by Mr. Chia Boon Lim, Executive Director of MEASAT, subscribers were told that if they want to take advantage of the new Emperor package, they only need to complete the enclosed response form. However, subscribers are also asked to take note that if MEASAT do not hear from them by April 21, 2003, their current subscription would be automatically upgraded to include the Emperor Package for which they would have to pay an extra RM30.

Such automatic upgrading of the new channels under the new Emperor Package is unfair and unlawful. Under the law of contract, silence does not amount to consent. As such, MEASAT cannot conveniently assume that customers who do not reply are consenting to the automatic upgrading of the new channels. To do so is not only unlawful but also unethical and unscrupulous.

As a normal practice, it is only logical for ASTRO customers who wish to subscribe to the new package to reply. Why should those who do not wish to subscribe be made to reply as well, failing which the new package would be 'forced' upon them? Such a requirement is unfair and customer-unfriendly especially when there are many customers who may not be aware of the notice or may have overlooked it or may not even have received such a notice.

In view of the many complaints from ASTRO customers, MEASAT must explain and revoke within 48 hours both the requirement on customers who do not wish to subscribe to reply and the automatic upgrading of the Emperor Package in the case of customers who fail to reply, failing which I shall lodge a formal complain with the Ministry of Trade and Consumer Affairs.


* John Chung,  DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary