PETALING JAYA: Many private education institutions, such as schools, kindergarten and day care centres, have unfairly increased their fees.
Pointing this out, the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) and National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) said they have received many calls and complaints regarding fees imposed by these places.
Fomca CEO Saravanan Thambirajah said they are seizing the opportinity to unscruplously raise their fees after the government announced the resumption of physical lessons at schools nationwide on Oct 3.
“Some day-care centres and kindergarten are also coming up with new payment structure where fees are collected termly (three to four months upfront) and monthly payment are not allowed,” he said in a statement today.
“This strategy should not happen as this will burden the parents as they need to fork out three to four months of fees upfront. This is also a strategy by kindergartens to collect upfront payments so that they can secure the payments just in case of another lockdown. Bear in mind, a mandatory annual fees are also imposed.”
Fomca warned all businesses not to use the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to come out with unscrupulous tactics to raise and collect fees.
Any complaints lodged to Fomca will be immediately forwarded to the relevant ministry to investigate, Saravanan said.
“We also would like to advise all private education operators to revert the fees and payment strategy.
“We also call parents to submit any unfair payment terms and increase in fees complaint to Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs (KPDNHEP) through the ministry complaints portal https://e-aduan.kpdnhep.gov.my,” he added.
According to Saravanan, child care centres have been reported to charge from RM700 to RM1,350 per child.
To reduce costs for child care it is common for parents to send their children to unregistered child care services instead of licensed child care centres with all the risks of abuse, lack of competency and skills in taking care of children and this might affect the social, emotional and cognitive skills of children later, he said.
“The Education Ministry should come up with clear guidelines that must be complied by all institutions. A payment structure should also be formulated. Biased payment terms should not be allowed and strict punishments must be enforced.
“The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs must respond to this issue and investigate immediately. Allow parents to pay monthly for the fees. Consumers are suffering. The government should give priority to address their issues and concerns,” he added.