Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Always Cheap at Kedai Rakyat

There was ballyhoo in the Malaysian parliament on Wednesday. Pakatan Rakyat MPs complained about prices at the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) outlets, a Najib Razak initiative. For those wondering what these are, they are thrift shops started in June of this year in response to the climbing inflation which hit a two-year high of 3.5 percent that same month.

These stores operated by hypermarket giant Mydin, offer 250 generic products like rice, oil, flour, bread, eggs, milk powder and diapers, at prices 30 to 40 percent lower than market rates, as well as branded goods. Three KR1M marts have been opened to date, with the first at the Kelana Jaya Rapid KL LRT station, and the other two in Bandar Tun Razak and Pantai Dalam, all in the Greater KL area.

Anyway, coming back to the complainants – according to The Malaysian Insider on November 09, 2011 – they have alleged that the prices of goods being sold at these outlets are not as cheap as advertised to the public. To prove their point, they brought samples of these products to the august House. While admitting that some products were indeed low-priced, some on the other hand were not.

“For example, KR1M claims to sell a 425g can of sardines for RM2.99, ‘saving’ the customer a whopping 51 percent,” Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pu said.

“However, a check at Carrefour showed that a 425g can of sardines... sells for RM2.49, or 20 percent cheaper than KR1M.”

Similarly, a 1L bottle of bleach sold for only RM1.29 at Tesco compared to RM1.90, or 47 percent more, at Kedai Rakyat, he continued.

Pua also pointed out that, based on a basket of 23 common household goods and food items, consumers would save some eight percent if they shopped at Carrefour instead of Kedai Rakyat. The basket included rice, minced meat, chilli sauce, fruit juice, detergent, toilet paper and dish washing liquid, among others.

From the above, it would seem that the price difference for most of the 1Malaysia products is far less than the claims of 30% to 50% discount. Therefore, making exaggerated claims is very irresponsible. Malaysians kena tipu (“got cheated”) again!

This whole outrageous exercise is a political gimmick by Najib and earns Mydin free publicity. And this misuse of 1Malaysiais turning into a big joke!

Pua (center), Nurul Izzah Anwar (right) and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad hold up bottles of bleach bought from Kedai Rakyat and hypermarkets. Image credit:

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