Sarawak to introduce new rural subsidy scheme to plug leakages

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen checking prices at a supermarket in Miri following the implementation of the SST. (Bernama pic)

MIRI: Sarawak will introduce a new rural subsidy scheme to plug leakages and allow for more effective supervision.

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen said the rural subsidy system in Sarawak will be reviewed especially for transporters of goods to rural areas where there have been a lot of leakages.

“There are many leakages, especially in the subsidy given to those who transport goods to the point of sale (POS) in rural areas as there is a supervision problem due to insufficient enforcement staff,” he said after a check of the Ops Catu 5.0 held in conjunction with the implementation of the sales and services tax (SST) at a supermarket here today.

He said in Sarawak, for instance, there were 1,600 POS in rural areas which sell essential goods but it was impossible for enforcement officers to conduct daily or weekly checks as some of the POS were located in remote areas.

“Some of the POS are located in places which takes two days of travelling as they are located in remote areas,” he said.

The situation was the same in Miri, he said, with 336 POS in rural areas, while there were only 18 enforcement officers to oversee the effectiveness of the subsidy scheme in rural areas.

Chong said no target date had been set for the new rural subsidy scheme in Sarawak because discussions had to be held first with all the parties concerned, including local residents.