Pakatan says Kedai Rakyat taking advantage of poor

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

The federal opposition accused the government today of taking advantage of the poor by selling “illegal and substandard products” in its Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M).

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had claimed last week that the thrift shops sold 1 Malaysia-branded fresh milk containing E. coli bacteria while nine other products fell short of standards set by the Food and Regulations Acts.

“The poor deserve better than illegal and substandard products. This is taking advantage of the poor,” said DAP publicity chief Tony Pua of the shops being operated by hypermarket giant Mydin.

Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad also told a press conference that it was not true that PR did not want the poor to gain access to cheaper goods.

“We support the initiative to provide cheaper good 100 per cent. But not at the expense of health and safety. This is high irresponsible,” the PAS research chief said of the KR1M shops that were launched by Datuk Seri Najib Razak in June.

The prime minister launched the first of three shops now operating in the Klang Valley in response to rising inflation, which hit a two-year high of 3.5 per cent that same month.

KR1M offers 250 generic products like rice, oil, flour, bread, eggs, milk powder and diapers at prices 30 to 40 per cent lower than market rates, as well as branded goods.

Najib said more Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia will be set up in other locations similar to the 1 Malaysia clinics his administration has established in states like Sabah and Sarawak.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Pua said last week that a test of the products from two certified labs detected the presence of E. coli and a higher than permitted amount of coliform in the 1 Malaysia-branded fresh milk.

Pua also revealed another test found the outlet’s bottled oyster sauce to contain only flavouring and no natural oyster extract. It also fell short of the required 1.8 per cent protein content for oyster-flavoured-sauce.