During my days as a young boy, very few homes – especially those in the kampongs – had telephones. But Jabatan Talikom did erect some public telephone booths for the rakyat to use.
The picture here shows the “pondok talipon” which I clearly remember – a nice concrete enclosed cubicle, with glass panels and wooden louvres (which were painted in dark green). The one nearest to my house was about a kilometre away.
Reliability was pretty decent, though occasionally the phone box did swallow up many coins without giving any service. It was costly to call in the day time – something like RM2.40 for 3 minutes for a trunk call from Penang to KL. However, folks cherished the availability and convenience.
These days however, public phone booths have become a favourite target of vandalism – I can never understand the wrath unleashed on them.