By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) will continue but will be rebranded under a very different business model, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Chong Chieng Jen.
He said the previous administration spent about RM300 million on the initial KR1M initiative between June 2011 and October 2017, but the proposed cheap retail outlets failed to offer cheaper goods for the lower-income group.
“It will not be KR1M 2.0. We will give it a new name. The mechanism used will also be different. The previous government allocated funds to create generic KR1M products, which has proved to be ineffective.
“Under the new model, the current government will only act as a negotiator between suppliers and retailers to ensure that goods are supplied at the lowest rate possible and sold at reasonable prices,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Chong was replying to Sungai Siput MP S Kesavan who asked about measures taken by the new government to achieve the objective of KR1M.
In response to a supplementary question by Jempol MP Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif on the affordability of goods sold under the new KR1M, he said prices will be “reasonable” and controlled by market forces.
“The items will be sold at affordable prices, instead of at low rates. Based on the feedback we have received from the public, the previous KR1M was selling items that were neither cheap nor of good quality.
“The prices of goods are dictated by market forces. So, we should not interfere too much. What we can do is offer goods at affordable prices,” he said.
The KR1M initiative was first launched by the Barisan Nasional administration in 2011 to alleviate concerns on rising living costs among low-income earners in the urban areas.
The idea was to have a neighbourhood grocer with a selection of basic necessities offered at low prices. The initial plan was to have an outlet for each of the 222 parliamentary constituencies. In total, however, only 185 KR1M outlets were established nationwide.
On Oct 30, 2017, the previous government put up the shutters of the KR1M operations before reviving it as KR1M 2.0 in February this year. Two strategic partners, Tunas Manja Group and KK Supermart Holdings Sdn Bhd, were appointed as strategic partners to run the programme.
Chong said the current administration is looking to add more strategic partners in the new KR1M initiative.