RM6.7m for a KR1M store?

Under Budget 2013, the allocation to set up a 1Malaysia grocery store in Sabah and Sarawak will cost RM6.7 million.

Athi Shankar, FMT

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is curious on why it costs RM6.7 million to set up a 1Malaysia grocery store (KR1M) in Sabah and Sarawak when it only costs RM470,000 per store in the Peninsular.

Last year, he recalled that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak set aside RM40 million to set up 85 KR1Ms, or RM470,000 per store, across the Peninsular.

But Budget 2013, he noted had allocated RM386 million to set up 57 KR1Ms, or RM6.7 million per store, in Sabah and Sarawak.

“It’s 15 times costlier,” said the DAP secretary-general.

He called on Barisan Nasional federal government to justify the RM6.7 million spending to set up a KR1M just to sell basic necessities like sugar, rice and salt.

“Or are the KR1Ms also selling luxury goods like designer handbags, gold and diamond jewellery?” he asked in a blog posting.

The KR1M stores are run by Mydin Wholesale Hypermarket.

The Bagan MP claimed that the allocation would benefit those awarded contracts to operate the stores and drive local retailers in Sabah and Sarawak out of business.

Power tariffs

The Pakatan Rakyat leader also criticised Budget 2013′s failure to announce the inevitable increase of electricity tariffs.

He said it proved again BN’s 3Ds record of deficits, debts and deception compared with Pakatan state government’s 3S achievement of surplus, sustainable debt reduction and stern action against corruption.

He said the budget was clearly an exercise in deception as Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui admitted that a future tariff increase was inevitable due to growing international fuel price.

In an interview with a vernacular newspaper, Peter Chin did not reveal the time and quantum of the electricity tariff hike.

But he pointed out that higher electricity prices would encourage the public to save energy and switch to products with green technology.

Lim reproached Peter Chin’s admission as “shocking”, asking on why then this was not announced in the budget tabled by Najib on Sept 28.

“Any responsible government would have included it in the budget,” he said.

Continuing deficit

He said BN’s budget of RM252 billion cannot mask a persistent record of deficits for the 16th year estimated at RM40 billion.

He recalled that the last time the country had a budget surplus was in 1997 when Anwar Ibrahim was still the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.