Before the advent of the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC), paying one's monthly utility bills was a tedious chore whereby one had to hop from one centre to another to settle our dues. When the post office started accepting payments, settling our bills became less of a chore but nonetheless still troublesome as not all bills are accepted by the post office. When the UTC was established in 2012, paying utility bills was a breeze. I could go after normal working hours, settle all my payments (TNB, TMB, LAP, JPJ, Indah Water, MBI, etc.) and even renew my passport all within one hour while enjoying a cup of coffee in one of the cafes within the centre. This was in line with the tagline “Urban Transformation Centre or UTC is one of the Government efforts and initiatives providing the urban community with key government and private sector services under one roof” and our PM’s declaration, “I believe this centre will be a hit and will be a benchmark not only in terms of facilities provided, but also excellent services”.

However, as the saying goes, “all good things will have to come to an end” and so is it with the UTC. Of late, the counters at the various agencies in the centre no longer, or refuse to, accept cash payments for reasons I cannot comprehend. There are staff members stationed behind the counters supposedly ‘on duty’ but when you approach them you are directed to the automated teller machines (ATM) to make your payments. Now this is where the problem starts:

  1. Usually there is only one, maybe two ATMs in the agency, what happens when the ATM breaks down (which is quite regular)?
  2. I have seen elderly and some people who are unfamiliar with the machines (yours truly included) fumbling and this delay ultimately causes the queue and patience or lack of it to grow.
  3. Consumers come with two or more bills to pay, imagine the time you have to stand behind them while they are slowly punching in the details.
  4. The machine does not accept coins and we are expected to pay more than the required amount; who benefits from this?
  5. You don’t have the exact amount to feed the machine and request for some small change; don’t expect to get it from the counter.

If we are unable to effect payments due to the above reasons are we supposed to come back another day or go to another centre? Why are we consumers being subjected to such treatment when the sole purpose of setting up the UTC was for our convenience? While the objective of the UTC was received with great enthusiasm, has it been defeated by some bureaucratic oversight perhaps?

I have since stopped using the ‘excellent’ services of UTC and taken my business elsewhere more convenient, like a Petronas petrol station for example.

A Grumpy Senior Citizen