by P PREM KUMAR
THE government has never provided any form of subsidy to wholesaler Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd, the operator of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M).
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic) said KR1M’s operational cost is borne by Mydin’s subsidiary — MRT Retail Sdn Bhd.
“MRT Retail is fully responsible for all the operation costs to run KR1M nationwide. The government never gave any subsidy to them.
“The KR1M programme is managed fully by only one company, that is MRT Retail, which is the subsidiary to Mydin,” Hamzah said, responding to Sibu MP Oscar Ling Chai Yew.
Ling had asked the government to state the number of KR1M outlets nationwide and the allocation provided annually by the government for the project.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last week said the government was allocating funds to ensure that items sold through KR1M outlets
would be affordable. Hamzah said the government has spent RM106.37 million to date to construct KR1M outlets nationwide; 130 in Peninsular Malaysia, 21 in Sabah and 33 in Sarawak, with one outlet in Labuan.
Ling had also asked if there were any other companies involved in the project besides Mydin, and if Putrajaya was still channelling any subsidy to KR1M, which has suffered losses.
On Sunday, Ahmad Zahid had criticised a KR1M operator for allegedly selling basic goods at above market prices, adding that he was informed that it was allegedly profiteering.
Ahmad Zahid was reportedly saying that he had instructed KPDNKK to immediately terminate the contracts of the company appointed to operate KR1M for the alleged practice.
Mydin, which has been accused of profiteering, had said that the chain was an unprofitable venture undertaken for the public good.
“I would only like to say that this has been a massive loss-making CSR (corporate social responsibility) project for Mydin, and we have done this for the benefit of the Malaysian rakyat (people).
“Our conscience is clear. Those who know me, would know what Mydin had to endure in running this CSR project. I need not say more. Thank you for the support,” Mydin MD Datuk Amer Ali Mydin said.
The KR1M chain outlets, a brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, were launched in 2011 as an alternative in facing the rising cost of living and increasing prices of goods.