Singtel is giving its shareholders the option to opt for shares in lieu of cash for its dividend payment due on Jan 15.
However, it mandates that the choice has to be submitted online. It states categorically that all other modes of submission will not be processed.
It appears that the push for digitalisation has reached a point where no choice is given for other modes of submission.
Not everyone has a smartphone or computer to go the online way.
If Singtel feels that sending a paper form to every shareholder may be a waste of paper, as some shareholders may prefer the online option, then it could provide a telephone number that shareholders who prefer the paper option form can call, to indicate their requests for a paper form to be sent to them.
This is what the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore provides for taxpayers who prefer to do paper filing.
I recently called the Central Provident Fund Board to send me a paper form to do my voluntary top-up. I was told that I would have to wait between three weeks and a month for the form to be sent to me.
I have reservations about the security of a digital token for SingPass transactions via a mobile app. Internet transactions also carry risks, as shown by the numerous reports of people losing millions through scams and Internet-related crimes.
So the paper option should still be provided for those who do not have great confidence in the digital way, or who do not have the equipment to do so.
Besides, what redundancy has been set up in the event of Web outages due to the acts of rogue governments or other criminals?
Ang Chiew Leng