Advertorial: 5% Tax, 10% Service Charge, 100% Stupidity

You know what I find annoying?

You know how when you walk into your favourite cafe like say, Starbucks, and you see them advertising on their blackboard – Grande Green Tea Frappucinno RM 14.50.

Fine. So you diligently pull out the exact change for RM 14.50 from your wallet – one RM 10 note, four RM 1 notes and 50 sen in coins.

The Starbucks cashier keys in your order and the bill came up to… RM 15.25.

Hang on, wait a minute. How did RM 15.25 came about? I thought the menu said RM 14.50. What’s up with the extra 75 sen, man?
You take a look at the bill, and there it is.

What the hell? Why do I have to pay an extra 5% on top of the RM 14.50 that you advertised on your menu?
Did you give me 5% more milk?
Did you sprinkle 5% more green tea on my frappucinno?
Did the lady on the Starbucks logo show 5% more cleavage?
Then tell me Starbucks, why the buck do I have to pay an extra 5% on my RM 14.50?

If it’s an option I that I ask to add on to my drink, like a syrup maybe, then fine I understand.
But if the 5% is something fixed that I cannot escape from, why don’t you just bucking include that into your menu prices then!? It makes it virtually impossible to prepare for an exact change when you pay for your drink. You ALWAYS have to wait for the cashier to ring up your order on the till before you can find out exactly how much you need to pay.

The worst is when you visit a restaurant like Pizza Hut, where on top of the 5% government tax that you must pay, you also have to pay the 10% service charge.
So a simple meal that’s advertised as RM 12.80 on the menu, after 10% service charge, 5% government tax and minus 2 sen rounding, ended up costing RM 14.70.
HELLO? Like, how the Hut am I supposed to know that?

If you want me to pay RM 14.70 for your pasta meal, then freaking put RM 14.70 on your freaking menu! Don’t put RM 12.80, then say “subject to 10% service charge and 5% tax”!
What do you think we are? Calculus graduates from Harvard? We just wanna eat at Pizza Hut man, we don’t wanna calculate how much each meal is gonna cost before we enter your restaurant.
If I have exactly RM12.80 in my pocket, I wanna freaking go to Pizza Hut and buy that freaking meal for RM12.80. I don’t wanna go to your restaurant with RM12.80, order a meal that says RM12.80 on your menu, then have to bloody fork out RM14.70 for it!
Dammit, why do you have to make it so difficult for us to give you money?!
The worst is when you go out in a group of say 10 friends.

Anybody wanna split this bill?

Some people order a RM40 steak, others just want a RM5 drink and everyone else orders different things. At the end of the night when you try to split the bill, you’re never gonna know who should be paying how much!
WHY? Because the guy ordering the RM40 steak should be paying RM46 and the girl ordering the RM5 drink should be paying RM5.75!
Seriously, this habit of advertising half-arsed prices has gotta stop. Cafes, restaurants and hotels are the most frequent offenders in this category.
But do you know who are the worst offenders?
Airline companies.

We’ve heard all the catchphrases they used in marketing.
RM9 One Way!
And my personal favourite:

How lah like that?
Anybody who’s travelled on our airlines before would know that unless you’re sleeping with the top management, it’s impossible to be paying nothing and still get on those airplanes. Those airport taxes, fuel surcharges, etc all add up to a lot. These are compulsary fixed charges that every passenger MUST pay. There’s no escape of it. But unlike Starbucks, it’s no longer just an additional 5% on top of the actual cost of the ticket.
For a Kuching – KL flight, the advertised airfares could be RM 0, but all the other compulsary airport taxes and fuel surcharges could easily add up to over RM 170. But of course, they never advertise it as RM 170. They would advertise it as ZERO FARE!
Only when you log onto their website, waste your time clicking through all the menus, THEN you’ll find out you have to fork out RM 170 in bloody surcharges.
So essentially, you’re paying RM 170 for a free ticket!
Imagine if you enter a restaurant, and the menu reads this.

It makes no sense right? Imagine if every restaurant does that, how would you feel?
Obviously if one restaurant is advertising FREE FOOD and attracting all the customers, his competitors aren’t gonna just sit around and do nothing. They’re gonna advertise ZERO COST MEALS as well to try to compete. Next thing you know, everyone is offering free food (excluding surchages) and no one would tell you their nett all-in prices.
The stupidity has gotta stop.

Thankfully, somebody is doing something about it.
Malaysia Airlines has taken the first step launching their “All Inclusive Low Fares” campaign. They now advertised their prices as all-in. None of those zero fares marketing gimmicks anymore
I say it’s about time.

A lot of people assumed Malaysia Airlines is more expensive, but that’s not always the case!
MAS flights from Kuching to KL now costs RM103, including meals and check-in luggages. It’s good value for money and the cheapest in town. Besides, flying MAS is more comfortable since the seats are wider and more spacious. And it’s a lot easier going through KLIA instead of LCCT.
But you know what’s the best thing about flying with MAS?

When you book your flights, you can call yourself a “Datuk”

Even when you’re not really a Datuk!

This must be the best personal advice I’ve ever read today.
It’s true. Sometimes defending yourself doesn’t make things better. Sometimes the best form of defence is in fact, not defending at all.

248 Replies to “Advertorial: 5% Tax, 10% Service Charge, 100% Stupidity”

  1. OH MY GOD. Thank god we just have GST in New Zealand…
    Then again, prices here are high up…
    It’s like a Japanese Pacific…
    Everything. Is. Expensive.
    You name it, and I’ll tell you. I guarantee it is at least more than 4 digits.

  2. Not including service tax. Ha ha.
    Oh oh…
    Or this thing we have called…
    Administration fees.
    Yep, that’s right…
    If you work in an office you can charge a processing fee.
    AND: To get something copied here, as in printed or scanned,, it costs $8.00
    For an…
    Uploading fee!

  3. Sorry…but what is a “Datuk”?
    (And while you’re at it, what’s a Tun, Toh Puan, Datuk Seri, Datin Seri, Tan Sri, Puak Sri, Dato and Datin?)
    Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Last week I went to Merry Brown.
    And their prices are already rounded up inclusive of gov. tax.
    So its basically different than other fast food restaurants.

  5. Hmm…why use Datuk…be a big shot…use Tun…Tun Kenny Sia…lol.
    Anyways, true enough paying for a flight on the so-called low fares is shocking for a first timer. Nonetheless, the MAS all inclusive fare would make any customer feel…less cheated. HEHE…using MAS to go to KL this January. Too bad the A330 (MH2507) flights are not low fare…enough.

  6. The Starbucks here advertises the full price. I believe it’s called ‘the law’. Some restaurants do add service charge but NEVER a casual place.

  7. Ya, hate those hidden service charge ,gov tax andsuch….hahah well, restaunrant and shop in aust already mark up their price with GST so, u will know the actaul price …wow… Mas so kind lately?..haha will try travel with it then
    cheers…. great post ~
    all hail Datuk ~ haha

  8. on an related note – I’m totally for taking out the 10% service charge of bills. Come on, why shld i be forced to pay an xtra 10% when most of the time the money goes towards the boss’s coffers instead of the service crew?

  9. that’s their advertising gimmicks, they’ll always advertise at the lowest possible prices, get to know their gimmicks and you won’t mind it anymore. Drink your coffee or tea at mamak stall, no tax & no service charge ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. just like those stupid department stores, always put a hefty price tag with the discount board hanging above. bodoh betul la, coz sometimes i didnt see the discount board and assume the clothes are that expensive and left the place. their loss, then.

  11. “Hmm…why use Datuk…be a big shot…use Tun…Tun Kenny Sia…lol.”
    i think he used “datuk” to show that how easy it is to get that salutation nowadays =)

  12. I SOOOO Aggreee.. its not like you can have the pizza without paying for it… so why not include the taxes? unless of cos they expect us to cook it ourselves.

  13. Kudos for bringing up the subject…believe me..even nasi kandar outlets are also at it!. It’s about time the government fellas go and check how genuine these Only-God-knows-what-they-are percentages…and where the many unassuming customers are really taken out for..

  14. It is fine that they charge and document 5% on the receipt. But Many outlets, due to their status or turn over, 5% tax is applicable.
    Funny, many shops hang up 5% tax is applicable, but they NEVER NEVER issue receipt to most customers. They just simply us a piece of paper and pass on the lady boss. Imagine, they are collecting your TAX on behalf without document, not even register in the POS. I had seen many many restaurant, outlets and busy popular stalls, which suppose to tax 5% but hardly issue the guests any receipt with 5% tax .
    Thank you for paying tax to their private wealth.

  15. Pizza Hut should never ever charge 10% service tax! What kind of service did they give? Utter nonsense!
    splitting bills are always a problem…

  16. Your take on MAS is incorrect. I just tried to book a flight from KL to Penang on Christmas. The online booking systems found the flights for the round-trip, listed as MYR79 each way.
    BUT the total at the bottom of the screen says “Total price including tax: MYR350”. My maths sucks my it’s not THAT bad.
    So, Kenny, your new hero is just another fraud.

  17. is hard to divide anyway, knowing how malaysian behave, they could simply argue
    ‘i had only 2 slices and you had 5 slices of pizza’
    typical chinese ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. The part about advertising with full fare – Singapore advertising authority has made it MANDATORY for anyone (especially airliners) to advertise the full all-in-rate for their promotional airfare. It’s about time they impose this in Malaysia because it’s always deceiving the public when they say ‘free seats’and with a fine print at the bottom

  19. haha.. i always encounter the teeeeeeedious calculation of the meal cost and all the extra pays again when eating with a big group of frens. as if they wanna pull out the joy of eating together. ugh. surely sometimes hv to pay wayy more again because its such an odd figure! double ugh!

  20. If this is an advertorial, you may want to check on the facts. MAS is not the first airline to advertise nett all-in prices. Airlines such as SIA has been doing it for sometime now.

  21. They can just put the cost of the food with service and tax charges right?
    And I wanna be book a ticket so I can be a that how Shah Rukh Khan got his datukship?

  22. Advertorial or not, this is certainly a very well written entry. I like the way you always bring up some topics that we, Malaysians never give a damn about & turn it into something for us to go “Hmm… true true.”
    Kudos again.

  23. Really? They started advertising all-inclusive fares? That’s great! Hopefully all other airlines and restaurants will follow…

  24. I hate the split bill part… as the one who paid it all will tend to collect the money back, in a way lesser amount (because you can’t divide the bill equally)… sigh….

  25. 1) are you really sure that only non malays were charged 10% for service tax in pizza hut?
    2) what if i am dining with malay.

  26. nice..thx for sharin d info..and also on d advice about gossips!
    personally…i nvr had problems with gossips cuz i was in a boy secondary high school..untill i came to college! ah! anyway thx again!

  27. Agree with u kenny. People just wanna eat out and enjoy themselves and not do calculus. I think the People in Power should push forward to bring this practice once for all to and end. Small token but big impact for the rakyat.

  28. Oh that’s so true about the splitting bills part. I remember when I went to Dragon-i in KL with a bunch of Singaporean friends. I paid the bill first by credit card and after that, they all paid me the exact amount of what they had ordered, and end up that I had to fork of RM20++ for them because of the stupid 10% service charge and 5% government tax. It was very frustrating.

  29. i believe it’s a way of marketing. it’s something like selling price of rm10 tagged as rm9.99.
    those restaurants and stuffs wouldnt wanna “bear the responsible” of charging so expensive due to “govt protection fee” and service charge and stuff like that.
    so they will prefer to price tag it at the so-called original price before the small tiny little wording “5% govt tax and 10%service tax”.
    that’s the trend now. for anything, u have to pay more than what it’s worth of.

  30. I love the mountains, I love the clear blue skies ~
    I love big bridges, I love when great whites fly ~
    I love the whole world word, and all it’s sights and sounds ~
    Boom-de-yadda, Boom de-yadda ~
    I love to try stuff, I love real dirty things ~
    I love the idiots talkin shyt, I love the schadenfreude ~
    I love the whole world, It’s such a brilliant place ~
    Boom-de-yadda, Boom de-yadda ~
    Boom-de-yadda, Boom de-yaddaa ~
    Boom-de-yadda, Boom de-yaddaaa~
    Boom-de-yadda, Boom de-yaddaaaaaa ~

  31. Kudos to MAS for introducing all flat rates!
    YEA! SPLITTING BILLS WITH FRIENDS IS HARD!! but usually we pay more than we should and let the fella collecting the money keep the change =)

  32. Next time you walk in busy outlets and watch the counter display 5% tax . Please observe the sneaky eyes of the boss…
    Whether they issue a receipt to you if you never ask for it.
    LorMee in Uptown Damansara and HarMee in Segambut…always cheat..

  33. you Tony’s gud fen now. tht why u don’t post airasia pics. u scare offend him la. airasia started wiz 0 fare and lots of hidden cost. bloody sia….

  34. shit. I juz bought my brother a seat in Airasia kch-myy one way and it cost me RM170! If I know about this earlier, I could’ve get him the RM54 using MAS! Fark.

  35. Which is why I like living and eating in Perth. Prices stated have no additional charges, it’s all included. which definitely saves me and my pals the headache when splitting bills or when buying fast food!

  36. Not so long ago, you were sort of supporting AirAsia. Now you’re supporting MAS. What happened? Some dispute with the AirAsia people?

  37. To shed some light, yes, there’s indeed a thing called “service tax” which is supposed to be levied on “taxable services”. This tax is actually being administered by our dear Royal Malaysian Customs dept.
    “Taxable services” include, amongst others, hotel accommodation, golf driving range, massage parlours, provision of F&B, etc. But do note that not all services are actually taxable.
    On the other hand, “service charge” is actually not a tax, but rather a fee being charged by the service providers and it is SUPPOSED to be allocated between the employees at the end of every month (in which some bastards never do this).
    And the best part is, you CAN actually opt not to pay for the service charge if you’re not satisfied with their services cos there’s no legal obligation for you to pay that (i think so)… Hope this clear up some confusion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Can’t really blame on the airlines part though, fuel surcharge and airport taxes varies according to different areas and countries. At times it changes just as fast as the fuel prices hike. Take note that airline is airline, they dont own the airport so its hard for them to set a fixed price to all these, especially if its a different country with different standard and currency exchange. (10 cents difference can make up a huge difference for 225 passengers per flight)
    The reason they are offering these free tickets is to occupy as much seats as possible when they fly, because whether the plane is full or not they still have to pay up a large amount for the fuel( fuel for a plane in gallons is not cheap ok, especially when youre refilling the fuel in another country, your’e basically buying it in their price, not your local country price)and airport tax, so instead of paying for the loss in fuel and airport tax it would be better to suffer less from the loss in tickets.
    For some airports there are rules that you need to meet up a specific quota of passengers in the plane or they wont allow you to land in their airport.
    So that’s basically the purpose of this gimmic. Tickets in fact dont cost much at all, or in this case its free. Its the surcharges that’s doing the blood sucking. Have fun flying =D

  39. Kenny, you 2 face money worshipper…
    Not long ago, you were screaming your lungs out, professing your undying love for Air Asia, Tony Fernandez and all that shit. Fast forward a few months later, you actually took a 180o turn and hail MAS as the new icon of low cost travel? Oh God… no wonder people say you’re such a “lui bin” (read it out loud in hokkien). What a disappointment…

  40. Lucky that there’s no GST in HK~ ๐Ÿ™‚
    But still there are stupid 10% Service Charge everywhere! And except the 10% SC, they always expect tips from you!
    It’s fine if they provide fine food and good service. But in HK, the waiters used to serve cusomters with shit faces and disdain… ๐Ÿ˜›

  41. ya.. what u said it’s true..
    but i feel u’re making all this fuss up.. the iPod thingy, and now this.. r u hoping that u will get more benefits via all these posts?
    i used to like ur posts a lot.. but not anymore

  42. EVERYONE knows about the 10% and 5% tax…. and how hard is it to calculate your taxes if you want to split a bill? Take the price of whatever you at and times that by 1.15. If people can’t even do a simple calculation like that then shame on Malaysian education system.
    How difficult it is to count if you ate something for RM 35 to + RM 3.5 + RM 1.75 to it? Just round it up to RM 40. The only problem I see is that many people tend to purposely forget to pay the taxes when the bill is split.

  43. For once i think this entry is annoying and plain stupid. Who dunno that we live in a world of deceptions? Businesses would advertise cheaper prices WITHOUT adding any taxes to attract customers.
    Living in Malaysia for so long, this is already a norm in life.

  44. michaelkon:
    “Your take on MAS is incorrect. I just tried to book a flight from KL to Penang on Christmas. The online booking systems found the flights for the round-trip, listed as MYR79 each way.
    BUT the total at the bottom of the screen says “Total price including tax: MYR350″. My maths sucks my it’s not THAT bad.
    So, Kenny, your new hero is just another fraud.”
    Dude, I think you need to read fine the T&Cs. It said:
    Blackout Period: 20 Dec 2008 – 04 Jan 2009, 21Jan 2009 – 02 Feb 2009, 06 Mar 2009 – 16 Mar 2009, 22 May 2009 – 08 Jun 2009
    which means no cheap fares for 25 December.

  45. You guys complain when MAS fare is too expensive at one time. Now they lower it till this level and you guys still want to complain.

  46. How fraud wit the MAS ‘All Inclusive Low Fares’ promo?
    Free food, no baggage surcharge like what AirAsia is doing, and an extra 5kg of weight to carry compare to AirAsia. The only similarities is the seats.

  47. yea, I totally agree with you man! These ‘hidden charges’ has got to stop! I don’t see such unscrupulous sales gimmick in the West! Kudos to MAS for doing things differently and it is great!

  48. well in america you never know what the real price is. heated your sandwich? add tax. cold drink from starbucks? as listed (well this one actually depends on location)

  49. sintak222,
    1. This blog entry was about extra charges HIDDEN & DISGUISED as taxes and misc. fees. The so-called blackout IS HIDDEN in the T&C.
    2. When you are at the flight-booking screen, you pick the flights to suit your dates.From the shortlisted choices pick the items which are marked MYR79 each trip. It should total RM158. If the result reads “Total price including tax: MYR350” it simply means the taxes were NOT part of the fare as shown on screen.
    If it is within the blacked out period, then it should NOT have been included in the list of choices.

  50. Sheasy:
    “How fraud wit the MAS ‘All Inclusive Low Fares’ promo?
    Free food, no baggage surcharge like what AirAsia is doing, and an extra 5kg of weight to carry compare to AirAsia. The only similarities is the seats.”
    How come?!! MAS’s seat is much more spacious than AirAsia lor.. u tried before or not? or you are the skinny type? tried to sit in AirAsia for 2 hours you will know how pain is your backbone.

  51. LOL… it’s very correct!
    and.. i booked the MAS recent promotion’s ticket already. it’s fare enough! fly from kl to labuan only Rm84! even cheaper than air asia RM0 free seats, but after TAX –> Rm98~

  52. It’s all the same in SGP…
    Enjoyed reading your post…none of fellow sgpreans DARE to blog like you..
    You know..the freedom of speech…

  53. Sheasy:
    “How fraud wit the MAS ‘All Inclusive Low Fares’ promo?
    Free food, no baggage surcharge like what AirAsia is doing, and an extra 5kg of weight to carry compare to AirAsia. The only similarities is the seats.”
    And amendment: Seats as in…………you cannot choose your own seats and need to pay extra if you do
    I would certainly pay up for something so reasonable. But the best, its unlike the fcuking AirAsia that increases the ticket prices over time. You need to book months earlier to get prices like that.

  54. U are absolutely so true! It is indeed annoying when the price u see was not what we paying for! Although we know that the 5% govt tax is going to charge at our bill but at least the display of price could included the govt tax, isn’t it? Since the 5% govt tax is a must!

  55. the reason why Starbucks and Pizza Hut list prices without tax included is because these chains originate from the US, and in the US, different states charge different amount of taxes.
    So they list the price, pre-tax, so that the pricing is uniform across the chains.

  56. all the prices displayed on the menu are exclusive of EFFING TAX !
    it’s not like in the UK where the menu has everything inclusive of tax .
    thats a great post !
    keep them coming !!!

  57. okay. you’re back to your best. i like this post. funny, enjoying and yet i feel contented. haha! good job kenny!=)

  58. finally some one has spoke for us, after a long time. yeah i personally finds it very frustrating due to have to dig out extra coins to pay for d bloody taxes and so on. better they just include iniside and ppl like us dun have to be so pathetic right ? yeah i do aware of mas lastest ads. this way they can be more honest to them their customer, wateva u paid means its inside, thats how u call the word INCLUDED !

  59. Just like what Henry said, it makes a lot of accounting sense if the same item is sold under different kind of tax schemes. Especially in the US where each state decides on their sales tax. Imagine the convenience on advertising (same ads, save cost), cost and profit projection (one price structure) and etc.
    For airasia, it makes sense because the same ticket is taxed differently between two airports.
    But for places like Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut….. that’s just dumb. Unless, of course, let’s say they sell a big mac here for RM 10 and RM 10*exchange rate in Singapore. Then, I can forgive them for doing this.

  60. Just like what Henry said, it makes a lot of accounting sense if the same item is sold under different kind of tax schemes. Especially in the US where each state decides on their sales tax. Imagine the convenience on advertising (same ads, save cost), cost and profit projection (one price structure) and etc.
    For airasia, it makes sense because the same ticket is taxed differently between two airports.
    But for places like Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut….. that’s just dumb. Unless, of course, let’s say they sell a big mac here for RM 10 and RM 10*exchange rate in Singapore. Then, I can forgive them for doing this.

  61. some how have this wicked feeling you’re doing an undercover market survey for your friends at AirAsia..hmmm….

  62. SGP also like tat wat. u mean sin restaurant put NETT price ?? everything also comes out + 7%GST n 10% service charge can ??? so wats with msia ???

  63. Aussie and the Brits dun have such extra surcharge cause they are Aussie and Brits. How the f**k you guys are comparing those systems with the one here? Different place have different systems, so stop comparing it.
    As for those ads, tell me, which businessman/woman doesn’t want to advertise their products/services like that to attract in customers? If you study basic business, this is one of the commonest tactics to make it look cheap and attractive.
    One more thing, who the hell tell you ppl that business is fair for the customers? Business is never fair at all levels. Its either we buy smartly or waste money for us consumers.

  64. I really don’t mine paying the extra RM2, if I actually have some royalty treatment.
    But no~ The shithead waitresses behind the counter will give us the plain “RM44.76”, snatches our cash, slam the register shut, and that’s it.
    No thank you, no “Have a nice day”.
    “Be like Australia, sikit-la.” You get ‘more’ than what you pay for. With all the GST and tax already calculated in the bill, it makes shopping lots better, even if the price after exchange rate is heaps more.
    It’s called ‘consumer rights’ they have been teaching in schools.

  65. Kenny…
    I think your readers deserve some respect. Please make a clear distinction between your ads (which we totally don’t mind having around) and the content on your blogs.
    Make your money by selling the real estate on your blog by all means. But, come’on, don’t let it taint the content.

  66. you’re married to AirAsia, but having an affair with MAS? i sure hope it’s only a one night deal that paid heck of a lot.

  67. whosyourdaddy – i think it’s quite clear from the title of this entry that it’s an ad right? kenny already said “advertorial” leh. not clear enuff distinction meh?

  68. hey mommy… that’s my point. Sell the banner ads, and the other real estate on the site… but leave the content alone.
    You need a dictionary with that?

  69. I think Kenny is using this chance to get more offers out of AirAsia. Soon i think there would be an ad “AirAsia: KL – KCH —> RM99 inclusive all cost”

  70. well who are we to decide on kenny’s revenue stream? not like we’re doing something those ads on newspapers, on television, on radio and on the billboards along the highway? some more you have to pay for the newspaper and pay toll to use the road. to me, those are infinitely more annoying and in-your-face compared to advertorial blog entries, which at least are still fun to read.

  71. Hic! Luckily in Thailand, the price shown is always inclusive of the GST.
    Hmmm…i wonder hoh, if i order a take away from Pizza Hut, will there still charge me the 10% service charge ah?

  72. I actually did bring the exact amount of money once when I was buying popcorn.
    It was in TGV 1U and I brought the exact amount for a large popcorn with coke, the guy tapped in the bill and I was like 20 cents short I think.
    I told him I didn’t have that extra 20 cents, he gave me a grin, accepted money. That’s it.
    I know I cheapskate la, do anything to save that 20 cents. =/

  73. Daniel:
    Well, do you know then all cheap fares come with very stringent T&Cs – that’s why they are cheap. That includes cannot buy cheapo tix during peak travel period and tix will burn if not used. Look around and you will realize that all airlines actually practice blackout periods during promos. So bro, if you want to travel during peak, go buy la normal fares…lol

  74. Ohmansosad, I agree with you those tax and service charge thingy really have to stop. Those are just plain stupid.

  75. if you can put Datuk even if you are not, Datuk Shah Rukh Khan may feel his datukship is a nothing compare to yours. ๐Ÿ˜›

  76. Be fair. The fares shown are all super duper early or late flights. The blackout period are so long. I’m sure you are not an idiot.

  77. Same as Canada. I bought a watch which I thought was C$135 but the bill came out C$140++ and like a stupid tourist, I asked the salesgirl “I thought it’s $135”.
    salesgirl: Oh, there a 7% provincal tax and 5% gov tax
    me: ??!!?!?!?!

  78. maybe Msia is the only country where cafes neva show price afta tax unlike in spore which makes consumer more pleasant as u c is wt u pay..

  79. I rarely leave you a comment but this time, it’s a must. Good job on all these awareness. Haha! Govt need 5% to buy helicopter ma.
    we have to pay the 5% lo.

  80. I am no one to talk but ive been reading some stuff on other sites about you. Honestly, based on what ive read and if they are true, I am surprised of what you did seeing that you have a gf BUT i have no rights to say anything.
    I do not know the whole story and I am not here to dig it out from you. I really liked (actually I still like) you as a blogger, kenny and i think youre really entertaining.
    I do not see why all these people have to force the “truth” out from you. Who are they that you have to report your personal life to? They are just a bunch of busybodies and i really dont like what ive been seeing in those sites. I feel like they have no right to do that to you. No matter what you may have done. You can choose to deny, you can choose to admit. It is up to you and not them to decide on it.
    All i have to say is kenny, I am glad that this post still contains the entertainment value which attracted me to your blog in the first place.
    Let them dig all they want. Just be oblivious to it and dont feel like you have to explain yourself to them. Cos you dont. Do take care because I am a concerned reader who is worried about the effects those idiots might have caused.

  81. Kenny, I totally agree with you regarding the tax. Sometimes the “service charge” gets on my nerves too, because more often than not, we DO NOT GET GOOD SERVICE, so why must we pay for SERVICE CHARGE?

  82. As this is a advert post, I wonder how much MAS pays our Datuk Kenny Sia, as he has to shoot down Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Air Asia.
    Hehehe… Just a thought.

  83. i believe that airlines now are required BY LAW to publish their flat rates (including the ‘hidden’ charges) on their advertisements, so this means an end to those ‘marketing gimmicks’ in the aviation sector at least.
    no idea yet when this takes effect, but it’s been announced in major newspapers if you ever take the time to read. whether or not this new requirement would be expanded to fit other industries, who knows?
    on another topic, tough being a blogger, eh? give out a neutral point of view and you get accused of taking sides. cheers.

  84. soooooo freaking trueeeeeeeeeee….time to ring up tony fernandes kenny…and tell him to stuff it with his “free” seats..

  85. after MAS,JetStar airways & AirAsia..coming soon…will fly direct S’pore-Kota Kinabalu & S’pore-Kuching…for right now the ticket already on sale…i just bought JetStar S’pore-KK ticket…the prices are S$79+59(ticket)+S$137(Tax&Charge)+S$29(insurance)+S$6(???gimmick cost Facilitation Fee)=S$310…ha…ha..

  86. Kenny,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. AirAsia has been the main culprit of this “LOW FARES, RM 9 one way” or 1,000,000 FREE Seats” crap. And they are still doing it till today. No remorse whatsoever. And they claimed they are “Worldรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs Best New Airline 2008, The Budgies World Low Cost Airline Award” or “AirAsia awarded Best Asian Low-Cost Carrier by TTG”. What a load of bulls*hit!
    Just go to AirAsia website now. Now they offering “Free Seat Fever to Singapore” or “Fly to Padang & Surabaya for FREE!Book now”. Yes, there are terms and conditions which stated “fares do not include taxes and fees”. But do they tell you how much their taxes and fees are? No right? See how daring they are. Or should I say how crappy or sh*tty they are.

  87. i face the same problem too.. when i was dining in pizza hut..its not that im stingy to giv them extra 10% or 15% in total..its just i feel like my rights as a consumer has been abused.. coz as i know 5% gov tax is the tax from gov to them for their profit like us(worker) we have our income tax..
    if liddat why dont we tax our company for our income tax..ask our bos pay extra 10%… pisses me off la these ppl..

  88. Alas poor taxes, I know them well.
    I hated the fact that in Vancouver we had to pay 5% on GST and 7% on Provincial taxes as well… and I groaned that in Europe and Asia there are no such idiocy…
    Well, thank god now everyone is on the same page, because I’m coming home in 14 days.

  89. Ahahahaa! Mr. Datuk Kenny Sia! And they didn’t say anything? xD Haha, so much for false advertising! You just false advertised yourself Kenny! Lol!
    Yea I hate it how they’re like that in Msia. At least in Aus, prices are high and expensive but when you split the bill, you know EXACTLY how much you ought to pay since prices are already GST included. A far more convenient way to have a good time with friends without looking like your cheap~!

  90. thank you kenny. this is the only time im compelled to drop a msg and say thank you! cos i just booked my holiday with mas airlines the minute i finish reading your post, SERIOUSLY! yes, i agree sometimes air asia is cheaper if i book 6 months ahead, but sometimes with my last minute holiday plans, i REALLY cant book with air asia, cos for last minute fares, its pretty costly, like super costly, like abhorringly expensive. i was close to tears when i thought i couldnt book my holiday anymore, until ur post! thank youuuuu!!! i will buy you souvenirs, yes, that i promise, even though we’re complete strangers, but because u just solve my problem, thats the best way i can think of to say thank you. and yeah, u did well with this post too! what a lead in for a topic:)

  91. Kenny, you got the point. but, this is a type of business strategies of those restaurants and cafe. By not putting the service tax and gov tax into the the price, is to attract ppl 1st impression. cheap! it is very human nature, most of the ppl will definitely put their focus into low price tag compared to those expensive one. next, another human-nature, we are “too kind”. ask yourself, how many times you will terminate the order after your order has been made, and only found out some unreasonable tax on it? 1 time, 2 times or never. most of us are never.
    think again, government said only restaurants/cafe earn more than 3mil a year can collect their government tax from customer. Do you ask them to show you their financial report before paying the tax. last point, if you notice, now some of the franchisers not even put a breakdown of tax (gov 5%, serv 10%) into the bill, instead they put a lumsum (tax), now you can’t really figure out what tax they are collecting..maybe “open-mouth” tax. makan pun nak bagi tax, lebih..

  92. You said it out. I’ve been finding it annoying for years especially when u just want to foot the bill you still have to pay extra charges, it always made me pissed off. This has to be stopped, or maybe wait till malaysia become a tax free country?
    LOL for the datuk part. That’s bullshit.

  93. you obviously haven’t been to the states. here u buy chewing gum pun got tax ๐Ÿ™ EVERYTHING is taxed, and different state different rate. so sometimes you pay more for the exact same thing if you buy them at different places.
    and usually places you have to clean up after yourself at the places that don’t have service charge, like McDonalds, and most chinese restaurants. if they dont charge for service and they still serve you, thats where you have to tip them. cheap restaurants usually dont have service charge and rarely ask for tips, so you hv to clean your own mess.

  94. That’s the disadvantage of eating and dining out too often. Extra money goes to pay for the government tax and service charge or rather pay for the ambience. Hence, not everyone can afford to dine out often with the spiraling cost of food and cost of living.
    On a side note, it is interesting to see that you can add a Datuk to your salutation in MAS online booking, right Dato’ Kenny Sia?
    Diana @

  95. there is a rumour going on that only non-malays are being charged with the government tax and service charge. I wonder is this true?

  96. sintak222,
    It seems you didn’t get the point of my first comment? What I am saying is just that the MAS fares are not always as what is advertised, not so different from AirAsia; there ARE hidden costs as well.
    And if there was something you were insinuating, I usually fly MAS and often at normal fares if I do not have a fixed schedule and may need to change flights.

  97. Rule of thumb. They must earn more than RM3million or be in a hotel. If not… make a scene. heheh
    1. The public can decline to pay service tax to restaurant owners who fail to display their service tax license issued by the Royal Malaysian Customs.
    2. The public have the rights to demand for receipts or invoices indicating that the 5% Service Tax payment or 5% tax inclusive payment has been made.
    3. The public can make cross references of the list of restaurants licensed under
    the Service Tax Act 1975 in the Customs website at or
    with the State Customs Director / Head of the Internal Revenue Division at the
    respective Customs offices.
    4. The public can submit their complaints / suggestions to the Customs Department via these e-mail addresses: or or to the Head of the Internal Revenue Division at the respective states Customs offices.
    5. The public can obtain and download service tax information / guidelines from the Customs website at under the heading Internal Revenue with the sub-heading Service Tax.
    6. Please be informed that failure to obtain a service tax license and issuing invoices, if convicted, can lead to a fine of RM5,000 or jail term of not more than 2 years, or both.

  98. hahahhah its pretty much true u know… there’s always hidden costs… and there’s alot of restaurant that arent suppose to impose the 5% GST (konon lah if u make less than Rm3mIl a year) but still charges…gila man suck blood..&*^*#@

  99. Folks, the writer is not two faced or loyal to any one company.
    He is merely advocating the practise of all-in-pricing. No hidden costs, or at least that the fine print charges are highlighted upfront.
    With the bills etc, you have to carry your own calculator to work out the % and then add to the supposed total to get the real total. With MAS, i believe those fine-print costs are mentioned on the webpage already.

  100. i’ve totally no knowledge on the gst stuff…guess i’m just a typical consumer who paid everything listed on the bill. and pizza hut non-malay tax is really getting on my nerves.

  101. I think our gov should follow what the UK people does..Their 17.5% are always included and printed as total of the price.
    Even shocking news is Pizza hut is Racist. I don’t know did they change o not but what I know from few years back, the Malays does not need to pay any service charge while the other race does.

  102. This is so true especially for tourists visiting Malaysia, like me. I have encountered this at the Penang airport…….. Do you expect me to change for Malaysian currency to apy for that bloody extra RM0.75 if i only have the exact ???????

  103. I feel the need to come to Pizza Hut’s defense here.
    The rumour that Pizza Hut charges service and government taxes to non-Bumis only is utterly and completely untrue.
    I have checked with my Malay friends and they said they are charged service and government taxes as well.

  104. Good afternoon Datuk Sia,
    Well, we just have to accept the fact that Malaysia has implied such nonsense in our lives… 5% tax, 10% service charge and yeah..agree wit ou on 100% stupidity… especially when Airlines promoting ZERO Fares…felt kinda deceived by them!!!
    Anyway, thanks for your email regarding the tips to Bali! Appreciate that a lot!!

  105. Why are you whining about government tax & service tax on food? its not really rocket science. We dont tip in malaysia because there is already service tax. Anyway, nice pictures though.

  106. I feel the need to come to Pizza Hut’s defense here.
    The rumour that Pizza Hut charges service and government taxes to non-Bumis only is utterly and completely untrue.
    I have checked with my Malay friends and they said they are charged service and government taxes as well.
    OMG there are comments on Malays who dont get taxed while dining? How stupid can the people who give comments give? On a scale of 1 to very stupid, id say very stupid!! If like that ill go eat out everyday laa kan since its cheaper for me? Please la. Use your brain before commenting and yeah use for brain, if it is even in existent!! ๐Ÿ™

  107. You guy’s english understanding must have been terrible.
    What does “Free Seats” imply? You all would simply imply and wishfully think that you get free air tickets. No, thats not it. “Free Seats” term only imply that the airline charge you nothing for the seats on their airplane and thats it only, you get to sit on the airplane for free. This term does not imply to any costs required before and after your air trip on the airplane. This term used by the airline company is by law or by logic, legal except for people who sucks in their understanding, thinking they had been cheated.
    So for you guys who complained about this, i think you guys really need to take some english lectures again.

  108. dude try purchase dominos instead of pizza hut, u will see the big different between cash and the taxes thing. This could one of good example for you to check out!

  109. hey kenny, i booked my ticket immediately after i read your blog. scared it will sold out. ๐Ÿ˜€
    its certainly a great deal but tax is not included.

  110. hey! regarding the pizza hut thing, the service charge and all that crab only applies to non malay laaa… i have checked. 1st time went there with malay friends and i pay…got tax. Then a few weeks later we went there again, my malay friend pay and there is no tax…..since then i have stopped going to pizza hut for years liao

  111. Yup, it’s a ploy to get us all! At least in Canada, we’re not required in Starbucks to pay tips as part of the bill. But we do pay 12% tax on everywhere else excluding food. It is both annoying than expensive.
    Atleast we’re not in Denmark, I think tax there is in around there 20% range.

  112. whats the point of writing in the comment box? is kenny going to go through all of them?
    thats why when they give back change i take all of it… cause they’ve cheated us enough on service tax and wat not

  113. omg… its bull shit..!! the MAS promo…
    Service Charge MYR 18.00
    Surcharge MYR 174.00
    Net Surcharge
    Adult: 2 MYR 218.00 MYR 192.00
    Total MYR 410.00 each
    -include fuel surcharge
    -airpirt tax
    -insurance levy
    Kenny.. how much did they pay you to put tat advert up??!!!

  114. LOL I think pizza hut’s manager read about this post, because they put the prices for BEFORE AND AFTER TAX NOW ON a NEW MENU! LOL LOL!

  115. What’s the big fuss though? This is all about $$$ – marketing strategy. Some countries give you the freedom to add in your own GST (like the USA), in Australia the GST has been added, same goes to Singapore. I believed the ultimate thing is to educate some of the people to adapt each country’s way of paying the bill.
    I know where our frustrations are coming from. But what can we do on the taxation? Are you going to sue the bosses of Starbucks & Pizza Hut Malaysia for all those minor catches? Including Idris Jala (MAS) & Tony Fernandez (AirAsia) for manipulating the FREE SEATS & its gimmicks? Well, as of November 1st, Singapore is going to enforce it into a law that all prices are to be added up and NO GIMMICKS anymore in any of those pricing.
    I’m a hotelier by profession and in fact some guest from different countries questioned me on the taxes that appears on our bill. For auditing purposes, we have to separate it instead of combining it into one price (i.e. rate + 5% govt tax + 10% service charge). How ironic it can be sometimes having to explain again and again.
    Ultimately bear with this and it is not our first time we are paying PRICE + 10% SERVICE CHARGE + 5% GOVERNMENT TAX.
    If we are capable of saying it, then be the government. Change something now rather than just criticizing it on blogs because the government will not care what’s happening here.

  116. ahaha! this is so funny. I agree about splitting the bills. that’s why people always wait for someone else to pay for them first. “i pay you later..” without the tax la of course..
    the ZERO syndrome! huh! I hate it. any kind of service use that gimmick. telco uses that too. well.. marketing strategy kan..

  117. Wow I didnt know that Malaysia is starting to charge a 5% Gov tax. That is EXACTLY what the US is doing now. You can kiss those exact change days good bye. Here in the US different states have different taxes. So in Mississipi you get a 7.25% tax, Tennessee you get a 8.25% tax on Non-food items and a 7& tax on food. Its confusing. Once they start charging you like so you gonna run into City taxes and all tht craziness

  118. Kenny Kenny….this is so Malaysian. YOu want to go and drink at starbucks but you complain about the tax. Go to a mamak then la. Hahahhaah. Wtf right?
    As with the flights the ZERO FARE…what most sensible people do with an ad like this is read the FINE PRINT which was *….. at the bottom of the ad. IF You understand the breakdown of a flight ticket the actual SEAT costs barely NOTHING so they can afford to give the SEAT for FREE. If you read the bottom of the ad it says
    *excluding FUEL CHARGE, insrance levy, airport tax and other applicable charges.
    SO DUHHHH, any person with brains will come to realise that the HIGHEST COST IS FUEL…nothing else fucking matters, so if they say FREE FUEL ON YOUR FLIGHT, JUST PAY FOR YOUR SEAT only THEN will it excite me.
    Other than that you’re just making stupid noise. Have mamak coffee instead, 1.80 only ,NO TAX WAN…and instead of pizza hut, make your own pizza man.
    THE ZERO DOLLAR “SEAT” IS NOT A GIMMICK..just to fool people like you ๐Ÿ™‚

  119. And I would suggest not going out for dinner with people who bitch about service tax. We have GST here in AUstralia, and people DEAL….I suggest Malaysians start doing the same if we expect to see any growth in our nation.

  120. This is another BS promo from MH, yeah try and see if you can get to book those low fares? What is the point of advertising those low fares when no one or just a few are able to really book them?
    And the online booking engine doesn’t work…e.g. can’t even book a flight to HK in Jan 2009.

  121. i have to bring my calculator with me whenever i have lunch or dinner with my friends.`as we have to go Dutch, that stupid service charge and govt tax make everything so complicated.

  122. wake up boy. You born in malaysia and live in malaysia and this charges have been around for ages and by now you would have get used to it. I know it is annoying especially when you go for Dutch with a group of friends. But if we are living in a country that practices such stupid system, we got to live with it. If we wouldnt want to, then start looking for options to migrate to countries like australia that actually includes the tax in the price.

  123. wake up boy. You born in malaysia and live in malaysia and this charges have been around for ages and by now you would have get used to it. I know it is annoying especially when you go for Dutch with a group of friends. But if we are living in a country that practices such stupid system, we got to live with it. If we wouldnt want to, then start looking for options to migrate to countries like australia that actually includes the tax in the price.

  124. “omg… its bull shit..!! the MAS promo…
    Service Charge MYR 18.00
    Surcharge MYR 174.00
    Net Surcharge
    Adult: 2 MYR 218.00 MYR 192.00
    Total MYR 410.00 each
    -include fuel surcharge
    -airpirt tax
    -insurance levy
    Kenny.. how much did they pay you to put tat advert up??!!!”
    You sure boh? I got mine for a business trip KL-KK for only RM206 return, directly what the promo states so. Booked it online though.

  125. They’ll never include the taxes when showing out the prices. That will make them lose their business to other competitors who didn’t include taxes when showing out the prices.
    So I wonder how long does it takes before the government state a law where taxes must be included when listing the price.

  126. man i agree with dakota…and after living here in akl for some time right, when i last went back i was buying stuff at starbucks and i took out the exact change and then the bill comes out more..and my cousin said gst not inclusive…
    a bit shocking cos i think last time when i was there i was just a kid so everything paid for and i never really understood since you go hawker store everything is as the taukeh say lo….and then when i went back after after i turned 18…i was like what? why extra??? the fella said GST…char dou

  127. Actually many restaurants don’t have the right to collect service tax..i read a news report recently, in Seremban only a couple of restaurant have to collect the tax which suppose to pay to government…how about other places in Malaysia…how to complain or report this unlawfull act..

  128. We can only argue and vent angers here, but when we went out to makan or beli after posting here, we still have to face the reality of paying the gst.
    Maybe Anwar should include the abolishment of gst into his manifesto. Maybe that would slightly get him more supporters.
    >>>They’ll never include the taxes when showing out the prices. That will make them lose their business to other competitors who didn’t include taxes when showing out the prices.
    So I wonder how long does it takes before the government state a law where taxes must be included when listing the price.

  129. I heard that Pizza hut don’t charge Malays 10% and 5%. See the ” subject to blah-blah % WHERE APPLICABLE”? Maybe it really means.. depends on what race you are…
    Still dunno what the truth is though.

  130. omfg I always take out the exact amount of money as listed on the menu boards only to see a different amount appearing on the cash register. Then the cashier looks at you like you are some cheapo. So malu x.x

    they should just list the price on the menu. -_-
    i mean, it’s so hard trying to divide taxes when i’m out lunching with friends, i end up dividing by the amount of people who went, which obviously isn’t fair for people who ordered less.
    they’re just doing the price menu crap thingy to make things SEEM cheaper. yes, it gets on my nerves most of the time. SAY NO TO HIDDEN CHARGES!

  132. What sucks sometimes about the govt and service tax is that u’re charged for the service tax even if you are having take aways!
    Anyway, i got my tickets 2 hours after they start the promo back in October. I am a regular MAS customer so i usually get the privillege of knowing a promo before it is launched. MAS is definitely better than Air Asia in every ends and every sides.

  133. I didn’t really think about the part on splitting bills until I read this. Its so true! Its so stupid that here in Singapore when a group of people settle their bill everyone will be trying to calculate the exact amount… Price x 17%… -_-

  134. it’s really terrible enough with taxes and everything. then they delay your flight terribly. (yes i know airasia is infamous for this). i was on the first flight of the day to kl, scheduled at 810 i think. that’s the DEPARTURE time isnt it. but noooooo we were only allowed to BOARD the plane ten minutes after that. my flight back was delayed more than two hours. and it wasnt delayed due to reasons that suddenly popped out of the blue, i checked in two hours before departure time and the NEW departure time printed on the pass was already delayed two hours. bleh.

  135. Friend, if you think you don’t deserve being taxed, try living in an island where you have your own road, food store, buildings, and buy that land without even slightest tax at all. Find one and let the world know. do you know why it is put up on the board of any food chain or cafe that says Exclusive of 5% GST? This is to tell people to get ready with some more money to add from the actual price. I don’t think I’m not stupid enough to know this… It’s common sense. Ever wonder why this is happening? This is to help people like you to tell people of the world shit about your own country. Get out of here!

  136. yes….kfc and pizza hut practice discrimination against non-bumis.
    they charge service charge, government tax to non-malays only.
    [racist comment deleted]

  137. wah.. .this is very interesting story been exposed to the public brother! ๐Ÿ™‚ Proud that you are the person who told it Kenny.. keep up the good work!!

  138. I noticed that AK’s tax are fix (eg. ~RM80 KUL-KCH one way), while MH’s usual tax is very expensive (RM170 for the same sector).
    However, I wonder how did they lower their tax (RM84 for this example) to for the All Inclusive promo? Why the difference in surcharge?

  139. The low fares from Malaysia Airlines is in a way a rip-off. Try buying a return ticket anyou’ll see. Leaving KL is pretty cheap, but coming back is crazily expensive…

  140. ‘What you see is what you pay for?… meh, so not true.
    I just went online and check the airfares.
    There isn’t anything like this. It states there.. ‘Low fares inclusive fuel charge blah blah but at the bottom it says excluding hidden surcharge’
    So instead of the original price advertised, you still need to pay additional cost for the ‘hidden surcharge’.
    I guess they still haven’t changed. And they never will. It’s their marketing gimmick.

  141. I’m in agreement with “I’m a Chicken”. The practice of making prices look lower by not including tax in the posted price probably is something borrowed from here in the USA. The ONLY things here that doesn’t have tax added separately on the bill are groceries (uncooked foods). Everything else – other basic necessities, eating out most places, all other consumer goods – gets tax tacked on extra.

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