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Varying degrees of impact on Pos Malaysia consumers

May 25, 2005 - The reclassification exercise of Pos Malaysia has varying degrees of impact on consumers. Categories like parcel, postcard and aerogramme and bulk letter (now called bulk mail) remain. The charges for the first two categories stay the same.

Categories of letter, printed matter, and small packets are now repositioned as standard mail, non-standard mail and periodical. In effect, periodicals have taken over the categories of printed matter and small packets. Previously any size of letters was accepted as long as they were below and equal to 2kg.

The new standard mail: 90mm by 140mm with a maximum of 165mm by 250mm (and thickness more than 0.25mm or below 6mm) in size, weighing less than and equal to 50g. Envelopes should also preferably be white or off-white, or non-glossy. The bottom 15mm zone must be left blank for printing bar codes.

Non-standard: Any mail not under those parameters and weighing between 50g and 2kg.

For international mail, countries were previously divided into these rate zones – Singapore and Brunei; Asia Pacific Postal Union (APPU) countries and the Pacific islands (excluding Hawaii); Europe (including Russia); Central Asia and the Middle East (including Egypt); and North and South America, and Africa.

Now the first zone has become Asean countries; the second is the same except it is non-industrialised APPU countries; there is a new zone comprising industrialised APPU countries like Japan, Australia and New Zealand, while the other zones remain the same.

Savings are possible

There is no change for domestic mail weighing up to 20g (the rate is still 30sen) and anything from 100g to 2kg. However, rates have gone up for mail between 20g and 50g, and 50g and 100g.

For registered letters (this option is also used by business users) the fee has increased by 40sen to RM1.40.

Small packets will not be called that anymore; senders can use the non-standard mail option but it costs between 10sen and 50sen more. But one can also use the parcel option to get good savings of RM1.50 for mail between 0.5kg and 1kg (and RM2.50 for anything between 1kg and 2kg) instead of the non-standard mail option.

For those who used to mail books (under the printed matter category) there is now the non-standard and parcel option. For books between 250g and 0.5kg, senders can opt for non-standard mail which costs RM1.30 more at RM2. For those between 0.5kg and 2kg, the parcel option costs RM2.30 more, at most.

For international mail it is up by five to 10sen.

So it is not all about increases in the reclassification exercise but some savings as well. Parcel rates remain. Pos Malaysia claims that for 75% of their mail users, there is no impact, as their costs remain the same.

Business category

Material sent by business users is divided into non-bulk mail and bulk mail (mail sent in big batches by one company).

It is a bit more complicated for non-bulk mail users. Bank statements, bill statements and direct mail marketing used to be under the letter category. Now it comes under standard and non-standard mail. So this means an increase of five sen and 25sen.

For commercial samples, addressed catalogues and pamphlets (previously under small packet category): between 10sen and 50sen when using the non-standard mail category.

For commercial samples between 0.5kg and 1kg, using the parcel option means a savings of 30sen.

For international mail, for the categories mentioned above, rates have gone up by 45%. The increases range from RM3 to RM7.

The old rates remain for aerogrammes and postcards.

For those who send their mail in bulk the rates have gone up by 140% or RM28.

If you need more clarification, call Pos Malaysia’s helpline (1-300-300-300), which operates from 8.30am to 9.30pm daily. You can also access their website at

Consumers ruffled by new mail rates

The Internet has not killed off snail mail: plenty of people still use the post office, as confirmed by two recent events.

Case One is the postman who never rang once – let alone twice. He was found to have amassed thousands of letters not addressed to him, and convicted. Apart from wondering how many old-fashioned love letters and business contracts never got to waiting parties, one would also think it obvious that many people – despite the convenience of e-mail – still believe in licking envelopes and stamps.

Case Two attests to the vital function of the Post Office: recently the public was shocked by the announcement on the reclassification of mail rates, followed by speedy implementation in a fortnight.

Pos Malaysia workers sorting out mail prior to a festive season. Many people still use snail mail despite the availability of the Internet.
The media has been bombarded with queries from worried users concerned about the damage to their pockets.

The hike even left some Pos Malaysia staff in a state of mild confusion.

Some counter workers told customers that if the addresses were handwritten it would be considered non-standard (see sidebar on P3).

It needed the Energy, Water and Communications deputy minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor to clarify that this was ridiculous.

The new rates would not crush most members of the public who send registered letters or parcels. But it’s a different story for bulk mailers.

These organisations send out mail in bulk either originating from their own company or have been appointed by other companies to send out mail to take advantage of the savings available.

Take, for example, a big company that distributes a wholesome family-oriented digest that runs contests with prizes worth RM1mil. Guess who distributes all those flyers – yes, bulk mailers.

These users face a double-whammy: a rise in domestic rates, and a massive 140% hike for bulk mail sent to international destinations.

This guide issued by Pos Malaysia lets the user know whether the envelope used is standard or non-standard. Place your envelope at the bottom left hand corner. If the envelope’s top right hand corner sits on the red area, it is standard. If it is outside the red area or if it occupies the blue area, then it is non-standard. The slot in the middle indicates the maximum thickness of the envelope allowed.

The re-classification of categories – an effective revision of postal rates – has hit business users the hardest.

For starters, envelopes that they have purchased in bulk would now be considered non-standard (either because of size or colour). They have to pay more for posting.

Forms had to be printed to re-fit the envelopes and this, of course, meant more costs.

These grouses were brought up during Pos Malaysia’s briefing for corporate clients and bulk mailers, on Feb 22 and 23.

Many complained about the short notice; the restructuring was not a total surprise, but they would have preferred ample notice for adjustment.

PosMel chief operating officer Mohd Zarif Hashim tried to calm ruffled feathers with a waiver.

Pos Malaysia is granting a blanket extension until Dec 31 for two specifications of standard mail, following feedback received through its roadshows that users still have plenty of coloured envelopes, which were rendered non-standard after the re-classification exercise in February. So users can still use envelopes of any colour, with or without a 15mm clearance zone, at standard mail rates, until then.

Users also brought up the question of efficiency. Higher rates should translate into faster delivery time, they demanded.

Mohd Zarif conceded that improving their services is something they are working on.

After all, among the justifications for the reclassification and new rates is the use of machine-sorting which should mean improved efficiency.

But The Star gets letters from readers complaining about late delivery. One reader from Penang said that a letter posted in Penang on March 7 was delivered a week later. Another posted on Feb 25 in Kuala Lumpur only reached the reader on March 14 (17 days later).

This goes against their standards and Pos Malaysia says they hope to improve within the next three years. For example, mail delivered within the same town (in an urban area) should take two days to arrive after posting. A letter sent from one town to another town in the same state would take three days. The same letter from one town to another in a different state, four days. From an urban area to a non-urban area, five days.

Pos Malaysia claims that bulk mail rates are among the world’s lowest. Many foreign companies apparently even send their mail here by cargo for reposting to a third country. For basic postal services it costs (all figures in US dollars) below 0.08 in Malaysia, 0.11 for the Philippines, 0.14 for Singapore, 0.17 for Indonesia, 0.18 for Hong Kong and 0.38 for Australia.

On such grounds, PosMel has readjusted the international mail rates particularly for bulk mail.

Related Stories:
Varying degrees of impact on Pos Malaysia consumers
What users say about Pos Malaysia's new mail rates


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