Philosophy Politics Economics

Posted by : Unknown | Jumaat, 11 November 2011 | Published in

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Philosophy Politics Economics

KR1M v Carrefour: A Comparison

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 11:26 PM PST

Below is a sample basket comparison between products from Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) and Carrefour. So who's "cheaper"? Can you see the supposed 30% to 50% savings from RM40 million subsidized KR1M?  You be the judge:

Click image for a larger view.

Read also write up on the above here.

Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia - Not Cheap At All

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 11:25 PM PST

Barisan Nasional leaders should stop propagating misleading claims and making false advertisements promoting how cheap Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) products are when they are not.
"Items at Kedai Rakyat are markedly cheaper than those in supermarkets and hypermarkets and helps families cut down on their expenses without losing out on quality." The first Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia was opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in June offering goods at 30 to 50 per cent lower than the market prices of similar products. (Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, New Straits Times 27/8/2011)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the first of many 1Malaysia shops in the country, designed to help bring down the prices of goods and ease the burden of the common man… Najib said the shop retailed 250 grocery items under the brand name "Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia" at prices 30% to 40% lower than market prices… He said it would also allow the Government to get basic necessities at the cheapest prices from Mydin whenever there were disasters like flood. (The Star 23 June 2011)

Semua kedai koperasi sekolah dan kedai runcit koperasi disaran menjual produk 'Coop 1Malaysia' (Coop 1M) bagi membantu kerajaan mengekang masalah kenaikan harga barang. Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob berkata, melalui langkah itu, warga sekolah dan ibu bapa mempunyai satu lagi alternatif untuk mendapatkan barangan keperluan dengan harga berpatutan. (Utusan Malaysia 3 November 2011)
Sample product advertisements on KR1M website:

A shopping trip to a local hypermarket such as Carrefour buying products ranging from condensed creamer to canned sardines to dishwashing liquid will immediately show that the truth is far from the outrageous claims made by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister and the Prime Minister.

While some products are indeed cheaper in the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M), the price differential is far less than the claims of 30% to 50% for most products. For example, KR1M claim to sell a 425gm can of sardines for RM2.99 "saving" the consumer a whopping 51%. However, a check in Carrefour showed that a 425gm of sardines (Double Swallow brand) sells for RM2.49 or 20% cheaper than in KR1M!

For a 1 litre bottle of 1Malaysia bleach, KR1M will charge you RM1.90, claiming huge savings of 36%. However, one can easily purchase 1 litre of Carrefour or Tesco branded bleach for only RM1.29 or a massive 47% cheaper than in KR1M!

Even when the 1Malaysia products are indeed cheaper, they are nowhere the claimed "savings". For example, for a 400gm packet of frozen minced beef, it would cost RM4.89 in KR1M. In Carrefour, the Ramly branded packet will cost RM5.29 or only 8% more, instead of the claimed 18% "savings".

Based on a basket of 23 common daily household goods and food items compiled per the attachment, it showed that if the same items are bought in Carrefour, a consumer will actually save 8%, paying RM120.53 instead of RM130.49 in KR1M. See full product list here.

The manner which KR1M and the Barisan Nasional cabinet ministers have been going to town telling the rakyat how ridiculously cheap the products sold in KR1M is completely irresponsible and misleading. In fact, the Ministers and KR1M should be investigated for breaching the Malaysian Code of Advertising Practice (MCAP). For example, the code says that

"Advertisements should not contain any statements or visual presentation which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity, or exaggerated claim, is likely to mislead the consumer about the product advertised, the advertiser, or about any other product or advertiser, in particular with regard to… value or total price actually to be paid."
In fact it is the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry which is responsible for regulating the industry and ensuring that consumers are not cheated by misleading claims under the Consumer Protection Act 1999. However, when the Ministry itself is guilty of such offences as a result of the Barisan Nasional government's vested interest in KR1M, then it becomes a gross breach of its responsibility to the rakyat.

We call upon the Ministers and KR1M to stop misleading the rakyat with false advertising and make claims which can only be substantiated with comparisons with products of equivalent quality.

We are very happy if the Government can promote quality products which are cheaper to the rakyat but such promotions should apply to any company capable of delivering cheaper prices and not completely biased support towards 1 company who may or may not offer cheaper prices.

In fact we note with trepidation that the Government is taking the opportunity to force various government-related agencies to take and offer KR1M products – such as the announcement on Coop 1Malaysia in schools and the setup of Kedai Rakyat Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP). We fear that the measures will end up only profiting certain business entities instead of offering real quality products at the cheapest possible prices to the man on the street.

UMNO Hypocrites Over Civil Service

Posted: 08 Nov 2011 11:09 PM PST

The racist reactions by Umno politicians to proposals to improve the efficiency of our civil service and government expenditure prove that the Party prioritises only its bigoted political interests and marginalises the needs of the nation

I am almost amused by the "shock and fury" expressed by Umno politicians, the far-right Perkasa and Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia on a straightforward comment which I had made in a forum in Johor Bahru on 30th October 2011, in response to a question posed by a member of the audience.

I had presented at the Budget 2012 forum the rising Government operating expenditure and the fact that the largest and fastest rising component of the expenditure is the allocation for "Emoluments, Pensions and Gratuities". I had shown the chart below which clearly highlights the rise of the Government's total wage bill:

 The chart shows that our total civil service wage bill has increased from RM20.9 billion in 10 years ago in 2001 to RM30.2 billion 5 years ago in 2006 to a massive RM64.1 billion expected next year in 2012.

The member of the audience had asked, what could be done to resolve the issue. I said that this matter will be one which is highly sensitive and a very difficult issue to deal with. I had specifically emphasized that the civil service cannot be reduced overnight and any rationalisation of the civil service has to be conducted over the long term. I had offered certain suggestions such as the termination of civil servants who have failed to perform their responsibilities as well as offering optional early retirement programmes for those who are interested.

However, the reaction from the UMNO chauvinists clearly showed that they are not interested in solving the problem but are more interested in inflaming racial sentiments and making irresponsible wild allegations with the sole purpose of creating racial hatred.

It was perhaps most disappointing to hear the widely respected and normally rational, MP for Johor Bahru, Datuk Shahrir Samad stooping so low as to turn a healthy discussion on the size of the civil service into a racial issue. He has said that "Motif mereka hanyalah mahu menaikkan sentiment rasis dan bukannya berasaskan ekonomi."

The reaction by the Johor Bahru MP, other Umno politicians and Perkasa is completely hypocritical for it was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself who has proposed a new civil service scheme for the government workforce.

In his Budget 2012 speech, the Prime Minister himself had proposed that "a flexible remuneration system will be introduced to retain or terminate civil servants based on performance. Civil servants must accept this challenge and be prepared to change. Hence, the Government will introduce the New Civil Service Remuneration Scheme or SBPA [will] introduce an exit policy for underperforming civil servants and for those who opt to leave the service".

Why is it that these very critics and race-champions have not raised a single note of objection to the Datuk Seri Najib Razak's proposal but when the same issue is raised by an opposition politician, then all hell breaks loose.

In fact, even the Chief Secretary, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan has said the same when questioned by reports the day after the Budget speech where "…he insisted that the "exit policy" announced in Budget 2012 would be strictly enforced."

"If you want to go out, we will allow you to go out. When we think that it is better off for you for a civil servant to be outside the public service, then we will allow them to go out. When they misbehave, and we think they should go out, we'll ask them to go out," he said.

Therefore Datuk Shahrir and all other shameless critics should focus on the task at hand as put forth by the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary themselves and stop playing racial politics with the sole purpose of inciting racial hatred among Malaysians for the purposes of shoring up declining support for an UMNO that is bankrupt of ideas.

UUCA Appeal Defies "Political Transformation Programme"

Posted: 05 Nov 2011 11:40 PM PDT

The decision by the Cabinet to allow the appeal of the Court of Appeal judgement that Section 15.(5)(a) of the University and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) is unconstitutional flies in the face of the Prime Minister's "political transformation programme"

After a series of calls for the Government to not appeal the Court of Appeal judgement that Section 15.(5)(a) of the UUCA is made by top politicians from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, hopes were high that the Cabinet will abide by and accept the Court's decision.

The UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, Deputy Higher Education Minister, Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah and MCA Youth Chief, Datuk Wee Ka Siong have made a show of openly supported the Court's position that the relevant section of the UUCA is unconstitutional and the UUCA should be amended accordingly.

In the "spirit" of the political transformation programme launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the eve of Malaysia Day where he announced the proposed repeal and amendment of various draconian Acts such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Printing Press and Publications Act (PPPA), Malaysians were expecting an enlightened decision by the Cabinet to finally remove the shackles of academic freedom at our institutions of higher learning.

However, the BN government has instead chosen to abdicate its responsibility to the Attorney General, purportedly to make a study of the "points of law". The excuse could not be more lame as regardless of the Court decision, the Cabinet could have taken opportunity to announce a proposed amendment of the UUCA, particularly the controversial Section 15.

In fact, the Cabinet should have taken the bold decision not only to amend Section 15.(5)(a), but the entire Section 15 of the Act which severely restricts the freedom of academics and students in our local universities.

Section 15.(1) states that students of the University, even if they are of voting age or PhD students, cannot be members of any political party, or any other organisation as determined by the Minister of Higher Education.

Section 15.(2) states that no University students' body shall have any association with any political party, or any organisation as determined by the Minister of Higher Education.

Section 15.(6)(a) states that students and academics will only have the "freedom" to make statements on their areas of study and research while 15.(6)(b) prohibits their participation in any seminar, symposium or event organised by any political party, even if it is within their area of expertise.

The above sections of the Act are obviously unreasonable and unconstitutional on so many grounds – such as the Article 8 which states that "all persons are equal before the law" forbidding discrimination against students and academics; and Article 10 which guarantees the "freedom of speech and expression" as well as "the right to form associations".

I have filed the proposed amendments to the above Sections of the Act during the sub-committee debate on the UUCA Amendment Bill in December 2008 arguing on its unconstitutionality. However, the motion was defeated unanimously by the BN members of Parliament.

We call upon the Cabinet not to make the same mistake twice, at the expense of not only the Prime Minister's "political transformation programme", but also the reputation and credibility of our institutions of higher learning. Without academic freedom, our universities will never be able to achieve our goals of becoming "world-class" institutions. Regardless of the final decision by the Attorney-General, Datuk Seri Najib Razak must retake the initiative and commence the process of removing all unconstitutional and unreasonable elements from the UUCA.

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