KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) — Lower prices, a satisfactory experience, savings on groceries and customer-friendly staff: These are among reviews given by the public on Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M), launched six months ago.
The KR1M is seen as helping the target group of those in rural areas with low incomes to obtain basic necessities without compromising on the quality of the goods.
The KR1M has so far attracted not only the low-income group, but anyone looking for a bargain.
Bank officer Halim Harun, 47, from Taman Melawati, Gombak, said he chooses to shop at KR1M for daily necessities after making price comparisons with several supermarkets.
He has been visiting the KR1M at the Wangsa Maju Market in Section 4 for the past three months and is pleased with the pricing, especially for rice.
“I previously read many negative comments about KR1M, so I came to see for myself how true it was. But I found myself liking it the first time I set foot in it,” he told Bernama.
Halim, who shops there twice a month, said that KR1M items such as canned lychee and sardines, mineral water, detergent and rice are cheaper by 10 to 30 per cent than other stores.
“My family are able to reduce our grocery bill by 20 to 30 per cent,” he said.
He is also pleased with the friendliness and helpfulness of KR1M staff.
“Consumers should take advantage of KR1M because, with the rising cost of living, the savings can be passed on for other uses, such as the children’s education,” he said.
QUALITY NOT DISAPPOINTING
Meanwhile, Tan, in his 40s, admitted that the price of goods at KR1M is much cheaper than in supermarkets and the quality was not disappointing.
Tan, who lives in Setapak, said he is willing to take a bus to the KR1M in Wangsa Maju once a month to buy groceries.
“KR1M products are definitely cheaper than supermarket items. For those items not under the KR1M brand, the price is about the same as the ones in hypermarkets,” he said.
Although it is not possible to get the kind of quality as the items offered in hypermarkets, he said, KR1M brand items are still satisfactory and reasonably priced.
“The prices are not that different. If a 10kg pack of rice cost RM25 in hypermarkets, here it is only RM18.90. The most expensive would be RM22,” he said.
Khairul Azwan, 24, said, as a student, he tries to save where he can.
“Household items definitely cost more. But I am thankful to the Prime Minister for this initiative which has helped us, especially students like me, a lot,” he said.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
However, the government effort to alleviate the burden on low-income groups needs to be improved further.
According to Linda, shopping at KR1M Bandar Tun Razak, many out-of-stock items are not quickly replaced.
She came to buy a can of sardines but was unable to do so as it was out of stock.
“I also found the stock at KR1M Bandar Tun Razak to be wanting. Perhaps that’s why not many of flat dwellers around here come here to shop.”
However, she said, opening KR1M shops at locations where low-income groups reside was a good move.
CONSUMERS MAKE THE CHOICE
It is not only the low-income group that is feeling the strain of rising prices for daily necessities. The middle-income group feels it, too.
Being frugal and going for the cheaper option when shopping is the best way to handle the rising cost of living, said Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM) executive secretary, Datuk Nadzim Johan.
“By maximising the KR1M and shopping wisely, they can expect to save at least 20 per cent on monthly groceries,” he said.
He said it is also the best way to eliminate unscrupulous traders who sell fake goods and goods of poor quality, as KR1M items are screened before they are put on the shelves.
He said consumers should not expect KR1M quality to be as good as the more expensive brands in the hypermarkets.
“That is why I remind consumers to be wise with their spending. If they can afford it, shop at the hypermarkets. If they can’t, shop at KR1M. But we cannot expect the cheaper goods to be as good as the more expensive items,” he said.
Nadzim said he hopes that the items at KR1M will eventually include wet items such as fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables so that the rakyat can benefit from it.
“I’d like to propose that the government maintain the prices of essential items such as cooking oil and flour in KR1M. If we can eliminate the middlemen in acquiring the items, that would be better. The savings can be passed on to the consumers.”
The first KR1M was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in June last year.
It sold sundry shop items such as rice, powdered milk and disposable diapers under the brand name Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia.
There are now 250 items sold at the shop under the brand name. The list is expected to grow.
KR1M was developed from the concept of selling basic necessities at a low price without emphasis on its brand name. However, quality remains a priority.
“The price of goods sold at KR1M has been set at between 30 and 50 per cent cheaper compared with popular brand names,” said Domestic Trade, Cooperation and Consumerism Minister (KPDNKK) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently.
The KR1M also sells items that have been repackaged into smaller quantities, making them more affordable to consumers with low incomes.
To ensure the quality of its goods and to fulfill stipulated standards, KPDNKK and the Health Ministry monitor items at the shop from time to time. The items are also screened by the Health Department, Agriculture Department and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
The government has targeted 85 KR1M premises by the end of 2012. From the number, 25 were opened last year.
Source : Bernama