Where do you complain about the Complaint Bureau?
Disgusted citizen | May 12, 09 4:29pm
Of recent there have been many complaints about the inefficiency of the various government departments. Based on my experience at the Complaint Section of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, I would say these complaints are no exaggeration. The actual problems and frustrations faced by the public is many times worse.
I tried to make an e-complaint a number of times but the system kept timing out. Enquiries about this problem brought no sensible answer from the person manning the e-complaint telephone. After many attempts I was given a telephone extension number.
I asked if I could email my complaint. I was told I could do so. Hence, I emailed my complaint immediately and waited patiently for a reply which never came. I called the person concerned a number of times before I was able to speak to her. I was given the stock answer, “Your complaint is being attended to and you will hear from us soon.”
After a long wait , I got a letter with my name and the name of the company I complained about all wrongly spelt and butchered so badly that made me wonder if such names and words existed in the Malay or English language. The gist of the letter was to tell me that my complaint was sent to a different section of the department and my case was give a reference number. When I called to get clarification, I was given a telephone and the name of a person I could speak to.
Having received no response, I called the number I was given. To my amazement the phone kept ringing but no one picked up the phone. This went on for a week .After many tries, I managed to get an answer to my call. I gave the officer who answered the phone my reference number and asked for the status of my complaint,
Officer: “Boleh cakap dalam Bahasa Melayu ? Tak beberapa faham Bahasa Inggeris.
I tried to convey my message to him clearly as possible in Bahasa and waited for some positive response.
Officer: Biar saya cek dulu.
Me : Terima kasih
Officer: Sistem downlah, Cik! Boleh panggil pada petang kah?
Me: Okaylah, tuan.
Later in the afternoon. I reintroduce myself and explain my problem again.
Officer: Pegawai berkenan tidak ada. Dia dalam mesyuarat. Boleh panggil esok?”
So I ‘panggil esok’ and to my amazement I was able to contact Encik XYZ who was supposed to be handling my problem. But he denies any knowledge of my complaint, and said he is not in charge.
Reaching the end of my tether, I ask him to let me know who exactly is in charge of my complaint. He replied he does not know but he will check. However he cannot do it just then as the system is down again and that he is going to be on leave for a week, starting the next day.
I remind Encik XYZ that I have been given the run-a- round for more than three weeks and want to know who I can speak to in his absence.
His reply: “Okaylah,okaylah! Beri nombor talipon encik, pegawai berkenaan akan call you.”
I give him my number, which is already in my complaint form.
Two days later, someone calls and tells me he is investigating my complaint and gives me his name and telephone number.
I wait hopefully for another week in vain. Then call the number given. After many tries I get through and am told the person concerned is not in. I insist I be told when I can speak to the person. To my surprise, I am given a handphone number. I have tried the number at least ten times. All I get is the message that the person is unreachable.
I have called the office number at least twenty times. Most of the time there is no reply or it is engaged. The office number given to me is 03-87331070 (just in case the ministry can bring itself to take initiative to investigate).
How familiar are these stock answers most government department give? In a five-day week, the system is usually down two days. On the other three days, one would be extremely lucky to speak to the relevant officer.
Second, to get some indication of what action will be taken would be a modern day miracle. It is more usual to find the officer concerned is on ‘cuti’ or ‘berada dalam mesyuarat’ , ‘keluar sekejap’ or ‘tiada jawapan dari sambungannya’
I would have thought a department having a complaint bureau should have someone competent to man the ‘lines’ and the service counter. The complaint should be referred to the officer in charge or a replacement officer if the officer concerned is not available for whatever reason.
Should not a log of complaints be kept and be monitored by a senior officer? Would not this be a good way to assess the performance of public servants based on the number of complaint successfully attended to and the time frame taken?
I sincerely hope the Complaint Bureau of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs would show more consideration to members of the public who seek its help.
Please clean up your act RIGHT NOW.