I’m using a prepaid mobile service myself, and frankly, I don’t find this issue of “compulsory registration“ to be troublesome at all. Heck, most operators have some sort of “club” available for users of their prepaid service, and many people register for the perks or just for being part of some “community”. Being a member of the Hotlink Club, I know for a fact that my personal details are already known to my operator.
However, what I find disturbing is the main reason why the Malaysian government is suddenly very keen on prepaid mobile service user registration. While the “official” reason given is for “security”; ie. to avoid prepaid lines to be used as anonymous bomb triggers… many Malaysians know that the probable “real” reason is to stop, or more likely, reduce the number of SMS “rumour-mongering“ that is becoming more popular in Malaysian politics. Understandable choice of action, ulterior motives.
However, what I do like about this move by the government, is that it could probably stem the usage of prepaid service by loan sharks, or more lovingly known as Ah Longs by the Malaysian public. The Ah Longs are known to operate using multiple mobile phone lines (and virtually all are prepaid lines) and using different pseudonyms which they publicise using “name cards” that their “promoters” place in our mailboxes or stick between our car’s windshield and wipers. I guess now we can really know whether Jacky, Ah Leong, Mr. Wong, Alfred and Kok Chen are really the same guy 🙂
It seems that this issue is so big, that even the BBC is covering it as well 😉