Saturday, 23 May 2015

Bullock cart express, part 2

In June 2013, I had written something about the bullock cart express. Yes, that's right, I'm was referring to the Malaysian postal services. Nothing has changed in the intervening two years. We still get the same bullock cart treatment from the same service provider, namely, Pos Malaysia.

Only this time, my experience is with posting out a letter to Singapore, not receiving one. Here is what happened.

When I returned from Singapore earlier this month, I had to send back to my old school pal there something that belonged to him. So I went to the post office in Bukit Mertajam on the morning of 12th May with my letter. The lady at the counter issued me with the stamp and even gummed an airmail sticker to the envelope without me asking for it. Destination: Singapore. By airmail. How slow could it take to arrive at its destination?

I just found out. My pal in Singapore received my letter yesterday. That's the 22nd of May. Eleven whole days for a letter to travel from Bukit Mertajam to Singapore by airmail. Wow, talk about efficiency from the Malaysian postal service!

Just to place matters in its proper perspective, let me add that the letter was dropped into the post box inside the Bukit Mertajam post office before noon on 12th May -- that's well before their daily cut-off time of 1p.m. -- and the letter bore a Butterworth post mark dated 14th May. Imagine, it already took the postal services TWO DAYS for the letter to travel from Bukit Mertajam to Butterworth. I guess the poor postman must have walked the 11 kilometers from one post office to the other.

And then there are the remaining nine days for the letter to move from the Butterworth post office to my friend. Who is at fault: Singapore Post or Pos Malaysia? How long does Singapore Post take to deliver mail within their borders? And how long does it take Pos Malaysia to ensure that an airmailed letter would travel from Penang to Singapore?

Eleven whole days for delivery. Excuse me, there are scores of flights everyday between Malaysia and Singapore. Did my letter actually travel by air from Penang to Kuala Lumpur and from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore? Or did it travel by air directly from Penang to Singapore? Or, did the postal services simply ignore their own airmail sticker and send my letter over surface mail, meaning, overland? I dread to think that if it had taken so long for an airmail delivery, how much longer it would take if their counter staff had not affixed that sticker on the envelope.

Do Singapore Post and Pos Malaysia have a KPI for their delivery processes? Definitely, I am owed an explanation. There are just too many occurrences of inefficiencies in the delivery system.

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