Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua today said despite the government’s defence that a large part of the RM386 million allocated for 57 new Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) outlets in Sabah and Sarawak was aimed at standardising prices of good with peninsula Malaysia, it was still more than the national sugar subsidy.

NONEFurthermore, he said even though it had been clarified that RM299 million would be for subsidy, the remaining RM87 million to set up the 57 outlets still worked out to a whopping RM1.53 million each compared to the cost RM471,000 each for peninsula outlets in the last budget.

“The balance of the RM299 million meant for the ‘cost of delivery and distribution’ is essentially a subsidy on the goods to be sold in KR1M. For the 57 outlets, that works out to a whopping RM5.25 million of subsidies for each store.

“In fact, the RM299 million of subsidy to Mydin exceeds the RM278 million sugar subsidy budgeted for the entire country in 2013,” he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby this morning.

Pua also claimed that Mydin was the sole beneficiary of this subsidy while other local shops in Sabah and Sarawak were not receiving such help to standardise their prices.

"Since the RM386 million grant and subsidy is given only to Mydin, the government is in effect killing off all of Mydin's competitors - from big hypermarkets to small mom-and-pop shops.

"Mydin will have the monopolistic right to sell certain products at substantially cheaper prices than its competitors due to the exclusive RM386 million from the federal government," he said.

NONEPua called on the government to extend such subsidies to all retailers in East Malaysia in order to provide accessible and cheap basic necessities.

Last Tuesday, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had questioned why 57 KR1M outlets would cost RM386 million at an average of RM6.7 million per store.

Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd managing director Ameer Ali Mydin (left) denied last Friday that the company was monopolising the KR1M outlets.

"There is no monopoly by Mydin as claimed by certain politicians," he was quoted as saying, adding that at least four KR1M operated by other companies would be set up by year end.