The net profit for ASTRO as at 31-01-2010 was RM689 million!

None of the questions posed by me here regarding the monopoly by Astro regarding Pay TV when I was debating the 2011 Budget  debate last week have been answered by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information, Multimedia & Culture, YB Datuk Joseph Sallang Gandum.  We all know that Astro is a monopoly in the Pay TV industry and there was no or very little control over it. So far we can see that Astro is allowed to air tv commercials when other Pay TV compnaies were not allowed to do so.  Why the special privileges given to Astro and not others? 

To day I presented to the Deputy Minister with the following glaring facts about Astro as at 31-01-2010:

1.   The total subscribers for Astro was 2.93 million;

2.  Out of the 2.93 million suscribers, 1.7 million are Malay (1 Astro for every 2 homes of Malay), 670,000 Chinese, 319,000 Indian and 222,0000 others;

3.  Total revenue was RM3.3 million;

4.  Total revenue for HD alone was RM302 million;

5.  Yearly net profit was RM689 million:

6.  Director fees RM1.18 million and director salaries RM2.477 millions.

RTM was also paying many millions of RM to supplier to supply popular programes like Discovery,  ESPN, Star Movies, HDB, Carton Networks and National Geography and etc.

Bearing in mind that Astro was making a net profit of RM689 millions as at 31-01-2010, the subscirption charged by Astro is definitely far too high, which can be lowered. But the Ministry was not doing anything to stop Astro monopoly for Pay TV to protect public interest. Monopoly in any industry is a dirty word for the rakyat. It is for this reason that the government is controlling the essential services provided by TNB, Syabas and etc.

The Minsitry should encourage more competitions like in the handphone industry. Competitions among the Pay TV companies can only bring benefits to the rakyat whereby the rakyat will end up paying lesser monthly subscription fees with better services due to competition.

The Deputy Minsiter did not reply why the Government was not taking any actions to break the monopoly of Pay TV by Astro except praising Astro as though he is the salesman for Astro.

I shall persue this matter during the Committee Stage next week.

19 thoughts on “The net profit for ASTRO as at 31-01-2010 was RM689 million!

  1. Merida K5

    Syabas, YB! I hope your voice will be heard. These gangsters should’ve gotten a huge slap long before.

    I hope you go after Air Asia as well.

    Let’s teach these cocky corporations a few lessons.

    Teruskan, YB. Jangan mengalah!

  2. Kamaruddin Abdullah

    Monopoly is a long outstanding issue. You certainly did
    the right thing. Perhaps you should look into other
    areas where monopoly seems to be the order of the day.
    What about puspakom, the KLIA Limo service and few others?

    When monopoly reigns, efficiency tends to lack and
    corruption will prevail. This is simple management.

    When will be the day can we can see UMNO Ministers
    advocating this isuue? Its a pity that I am not a voter
    of your constituency. But I do have lots of friends who
    reside and vote in your constituency and I will surely
    do my part to see that your seat in Parliament be retained.
    We need people like you in Parliament, debating not on
    racial issues but issues that have great impact on the lives
    of the rakyat.

  3. rajan

    Why can’t other Members of Parliament carry out their duties this way? why can’t they take up issues affecting the people instead of politicking all the time?

    Everyone knows that Astro is taking us for a ride because of the monopoly it enjoys without constraint from the Ministry of Information. Before Astro offered the second decoder at 50% discount now regardless of how many decoder the costs are the same.

    Just look at its net profits of RM689 millions. This means that the subscription charged is exorbitant. Is it not the duty of the Minister of Information to control monopoly in our market so that public will not be a victims.

    Stop the monopoly now and let more players into the market so that we can enjoy cheaper pay tv of quality programes instead of watching repeats.

    Congratulations YB and thank you.

  4. Jamal JB

    YB ,

    There are satellite decoders which I saw sold in Singapore that allows us to get free to air channel. Thousands of channel to choose from. Changing direction of the big dish allows us to receive signal from respective regions. FREE !

    The problem is it is not legal my MCMC law . Why ? Many big houses with large garden area are using it in East Malaysia anyway … illegally of course . Why not legalize it ? Why must we protect Astro ?

    I want to shutdown my Astro but I cannott because UNIFI system has not extended to my area in Batu 5 KL . If you can kick TELEKOM to speed up would be great for us ! Future I can just go online and watch TV online .

    Help us out YB here , thank you for staying away from nonsense politicing thats serve us regular people no benefits.

  5. Charles F Moreira

    It’s not right to say that Astro is a “monopoly” mandated by government, any more that one can say that Microsoft is a “monopoly” mandated by the U.S. government.

    On the other hand it is true to say that AT&T once was a regulated monopoly mandated and tightly regulated by the U.S. government.

    Since 2005, there has been U Television or what was called MiTV. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:-

    “U Television Sdn. Bhd. (formerly known as U Telecom Media Holdings Sdn. Bhd. and MiTV Corporation Sdn. Bhd.) is Malaysia’s third pay television operator. It was launched in September 2005 after having obtained all the necessary approvals from the censorship board on its broadcast contents. The company initially offered 40 channels from content providers worldwide.”

    So is there a monopoly or do most people still prefer Astro and if so why?

    A possibility is that Astro, having had the first-mover advantage, had grabbed the distribution rights to the best programmes. Now those are purely commercial relationships.

    Now Unifi has come online, albeit not everywhere yet and perhaps only in urban areas for a long time to come, as laying fibre is expensive and while costs have come down, they have stopped falling, so fibre networks remain comparatively expensive to deploy, so you won’t find them in rural areas for a long time to come.

    However, wherever it is available, Unifi will provide competition to Astro.

    Also stay tuned for Maxis which is gearing up to launch its own IP-TV over fibre, though of course Maxis & Astro are related companies, while YTL Communications has announced that it will launch PayTV using technology from Sezmi by the end of 2011, so where is the “monopoly”?

    As for “big dish” and “small dish,” from the very beginning, the Malaysian government and not its enforcement agency, the MCMC decided that while they would let Malaysian have satellite TV, they would still wanted to maintain censorship.

    So the government decided to let Astro operate in the higher frequency Ku Band, which suffers from attenuation of signals in high rainfall areas and is generally unsuitable for use in the tropics. To try and overcome this, MEASAT more powerful transmitters.

    The big dish antennas you see in other countries and which I’ve seen on rooftops and gardens in Thailand are C Band dishes which work at lower frequencies less suited to attenuation by rainfall and more suitable to the tropics.

    The C Band is also used for data communication, such as between petrol stations and their head office, between oil rigs to shore, etc, which is why you see thos big dishes on top of petrol stations.

    The small Ku Band dishes are unsuitable for receiving lower frequency C Band signals which have longer wavelength and vice versa.

    However, the Malaysian government did not want to let people have them because they can receive all kinds of C Band TV broadcasts, not because it wants to “protect” Astro.

    So, the government gave Astro the license to operate C Band antennas (you can see them outside its centre in Bukit Jalil), which it uses to receive broadcasts, monitors and records them in its “Content Control” section, edits and stores it if necessary, then retransmits it up to the MEASAT satellite in the Ku Band which then comes down to the smaller Ku Band dishes on our homes and then the Astro decoder.

    So it’s a Malaysian government decision to maintain censorship over the flow of information and the MCMC is just its enforcement agency.

    BTW. I don’t see any Ku Band or C Band dishes on top of homes in Singapore but I’ve seen plenty of C Band and Ku Band dishes on homes in Bangkok.

    So instead of just criticising the Astro “monopoly,” YB Wee should criticise the whole premise of maintaining censorship by the Barisan Nasional government.

    Also, if you want to beat the Microsoft “monopoly,” then use Linux, as there are many popular options such as Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora and other distributions to choose from. Just download the CD or DVD ISO image, burn it to a CD or DVD and install it.

    It’s that simple but how many are running Linux. Well, I do on all my PCs.

    As for monopoly of airport taxi services, yes, this should be stopped because it forces us to pay higher prices, when in most other countries, such as Singapore, Thailand, the UK, US, Australia and others, normal city taxis are allowed to serve the airports as well and it would benefit the people by ending the exclusive monopoly no airport taxis.

    Also, YB Wee, what do you have to say about the Wawasan Merdeka Tower?

    For the record, I signed an online petition opposing it.

  6. rajah

    whatever name you want to call it? astro is monopolising the market. just look at the net profit after paying the directors fees for meeting of over RM1 million and directors salary for over RM2 million. Astro is just squeezing the subscribers with the subscription and repeats – same movies or programes over and over again.

    Astro is watched by middle to low income groups comprising of the majority. It is high time that the government steps in to regulate this monopoly with more players which will encourage competition. Ultimately the public will benefit like the hand phone industry.

    some idiots must wake up and not trying to speak for Astro and trying so hard to defend the indefensible.

    The Ministry f Information must use the law to intervene before Astro squeezed us more and more fund will take out from Malaysia as we know Astro is a subsidiary of a PLC in UK.

    YB please pursue this matter as it is of public interest that no monopoly must be allowed in Malaysia. Lets starts with Astro and many 3 millions people are involved!

    Thank you YB for highlighting to the the rakyat attention about this otherwise we will continue to be screwed by Astro.

  7. rosli

    Agree agree agree! the monoply by Astro must be immediately stopped. No question about that. The net profit figure of RM689 millions is enough to make me sick.

    We should have a campaign to dismantle this monopoly by Astro otherwise the rakyat will be bled to death.

    Rakyat didahullukan! and not the subsidiary of a PLC in UK didahulukan. We must keep the fund in our country. We must not allowed foreign company to benefits from the rakyat in Malaysia.

    Of course, we have some idiots trying to defend Astro. They can pay for the high subscriptions and not us.

    Hantum them in Parliament cukup cukup YB. The rakyat are with you.

  8. idiotic

    it does not matter whether it is C or D or F… disks. Astro is still a monopoly where it is controlling the Pay TV market with little or no control at all as to how it is exploiting the Malaysians. the programes are not fresh but repeats. Look at the net profit and its company structure. Astro is strictly a foreign owned company based in UK. Why so our government allowed a UK based company to treat Malaysians like fools?

    Astro subscribers as what YB put it: 1.7 million Malay, 670,000 Chinese, Indian 319,000 and 222,000 others. why should 3 million Malaysians be taken for a ride by a foreign owned company in UK.

    i cannot understand why there is one f..ker is still defending without looking into the corporate structure of Astro and the amount of profit it is getting from Malaysians.

    Wipe out the monopoly now.

  9. Charles F Moreira

    I would agree if you said Astro effectively has a de-facto monopoly at this time and something needs to be done about it by the government but not that the government is protecting Astro, otherwise why does it allow MiTV, Unifi and YTL’s proposed IP-TV and Maxis’ as well.

    Anyway, I don’t watch TV or listen to radio at home, I don’t have Astro or any pay TV and I’ve had the antenna for free-to-air reception remover. I only use the TV as a video monitor to watch videos. That’s liberation of sorts.

  10. Mohame

    YB Any progress on getting rid of astro monopoly. They are still fleecing the customers. To subscribe a world cup cricket package, they require us to pay RM500. It is really too much. I dont know what is the use of anti-monoploy laws introduced by the Govt recently if they continue not allow any other satellite operator

    1. weechookeong


      The Minister in charge will also start to reply from 07 March. I will definitely bring up the RM500 subscription for cricket programe. I do share your frustrations about this. I have in fact brought up the issues on Astro inserting advertisement, the repeated showing of old movies over and over again and the subscriptions. The Minister YB Datuk Rais Yatim promised to look into it. So far nothing has changed.

      I will speak on the issue this March.

      Thank you for your valuable comments.

      Have a nice holiday.


      wee choo keong

  11. Astro-BLR-VCD-Hotel

    We dont think the monopoly is the problem but is the way some people doing business . Take example of 2 food shops which selling Yong Tau Fu . Why we don’t eat at A shop which is nearby to us , instead go to B shop which 200m more far away ?
    Because we only order 12 pcs , but what reach in our table is 20 pcs .
    Force-sell . In this case , just dont eat in A shop next time .

    But other third-party television operator MiTV is not good enough to complete with Astro , so cannot say Astro is monopoly , but win the game . Just like we vote PR Selangor , we wish them to do better job than BN , but instead more worst than BN .

    Astro is watched by middle to high income , NOT low income . And we just like Charles F Moreira , dont watch TV or don’t have Astro . We spend on cinema movie , even we buy original VCD , we dont have enought budget for DVD . This is also another problem for majority .

    It is unfair to bla-bla Astro just because it has net profits of RM689 millions because nobody want to do business without profit .
    But sometimes we have GILA CEO in company who not satisfy with RM689 millions profit , want any future profit more than RM689 millions will do this way –
    To subscribe a world cup cricket package, they require to pay RM500 .

    In this case , just like hotel room rates , since foreign tourist afford to pay triple rates , then our government forget about the local tourist .
    Bank no monopoly , but each bank which earn high profit , Bank Negara only up 25 points , but every bank secretly up 75 points on BLR . In this case , some no problem because high income but the problem is the low income one . Inst we also propose there should be 2 type of BLR .
    So YB Wee , please bring 4-or-many more-in-one coffee issue to Parliament .

    1. weechookeong

      The huge yearly net profit of RM689 million speaks volume. It was enough for the government to take actions to stop this monopoly. No company can make such huge profit if there is no monopoly. THe government must pass regulations to stop it otherwise members of the public will be exploited. Just imagine to subscribe for cricket games, one had to pay RM500. THis is day light robbery! If the government is controlling the price public utilities like electricity, water and others. Why is Astro exempted? Rm689 million net profits mean excessive profits made at the expense of the people.

      Malaysians cannot let this go on. Look at the breakdown figures of the subscribers: 1.7 millions, 670,000 Chinese, 360,00 Indian and 222,000 others. Just imagine with subscribers of about 3 million, Astro was able to make net profit of RM689 million.

      It must be stopped at all costs.

      Thank you

      Wee Choo Keong

  12. Astro-BLR-VCD-Hotel

    Maybank posts record net profit of RM3.82 billion in 2010 .

    Tan Sri Teh said that the PBB Group posted a record pre-tax profit of RM2.05 billion for 2005, an 11% improvement compared to RM1.85 billion in 2004, surpassing the RM2 billion mark for the first time in PBB’s history. The PBB Group’s net profit rose by 14% to RM1.45 billion .

    The Public Bank Group achieved another year of strong performance with a record pre-tax profit of RM4.09 billion for 2010, representing a 23% growth over 2009.


    Astro recorded pre-tax profit or RM65.4 million .

    Revenue for the period rose to RM1.52 billion from RM1.45 billion ( no details ??? advertisement revenue ??? ) previously due to steady demand for its pay-TV service in Malaysia and higher revenue contributed by Malaysian radio businesses .

    Billionaire Ananda Krishnan will shell out around US$1.6 billion (RM5.1 billion) to privatise two of his listed firms in a
    move to restructure their operations and raise funds for the overseas expansion of his power business.

    He also privatised pay-TV monopoly Astro All Asia Networks Plc in March after a loss-making expansion into Indonesia and India ( in 2007 ?? 2008 ?? Not sure )

    Anyway , Ananda is known for his ability to do something like buy low and cash out at the right and price , privatising and relisting his companies . We still dont think monopoly or nearly-monopoly is the main reason of Astro profit ( maybe we wrong ) . But one thing ” Just imagine to subscribe for cricket games, one had to pay RM500. ” either is day light robbery or someone may say taking advantage , basically is sure someone is trying to raise fund using NOT-as-Malaysia-people way .

  13. Mohamed

    YB, Thank you very much for your speedy reply. I wld not even got such a reply from my own MP Kui Lun (though he is not that bad only thing it will take longer time for him to understand the problem…hehe). 3 world cups ago, when Astro was not subscribed by that many ppl, they sold the same world cup coverage for RM80 something. And now with increased astro subscribers (this wld mean potentially more may subscribe to Astro), they increase the charge almost 6 times. All due to monopoly and what else. YB, just to give u a feeler as how much they overcharge, neighbouring Singapore’s Singtel brings 5 cricket channels including including the world cup for SGD 19.90 (i.e. RM50). You can now appreciate how many times they overcharge us. I strongly believe they wld not be able to rope in that much profit if they r not the monopoly. See their Indian and Indonesian operations. How much money they lost? It is all now clear we the gullible Malaysians subsidising these losses. I salute you again YB for standing up for Rakyat despite the strong lobbying by Astro monster.

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