KUALA LANGAT: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today ordered the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry to end the contract of the operator of the 1Malaysia People’s Shop (KR1M), saying they were found to sell goods higher than the market price.
“They were given a chance. I don’t want to name the company. I myself went to KR1M because I gave them the opportunity to open an outlet with low rental under the Bagan Datoh Umno division (office),” said the Umno MP for Bagan Datoh.
“I allowed the shop to be set up to help the people in my constituency. But it became clear that the prices were more expensive even though the government had specific allocations for the company to sell at below-market prices,” he said when officiating the Kuala Langat Umno meeting here.
Zahid, who is home minister, said the government did not want the company to operate and supply products to KR1M anymore because it had low-quality packaging and distribution but sold the goods at high prices.
“Eventually, the company did say it was incurring losses in handling KR1M,” he said.
Zahid directed domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister Hamzah Zainudin to replace the company to ensure items were sold below-market rates, saying it in the people’s best interests.
Meanwhile, Zahid also blamed “middlemen” for playing a role in the hike of prices of food products in the country.
Bernama quoted him as saying that there were irresponsible middlemen whose sole aim was to make extraordinary profits at the expense of consumers.
He asked the same ministry and the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry to address the problem.
“The price of mackarel going up as high as RM28 (per kg)? I asked fishermen what was the landing price… just RM8 a kilo. So why RM28? Maybe in Banting RM14, KL (Kuala Lumpur) RM18. Why in other places RM28? Why is there a difference of RM20?” he asked.
Saying that there could be weaknesses in the supply chain with middlemen pocketing extraordinary profits, Zahid said such matters must be exposed and overcome.