Kuala Lumpur: The government's 1Malaysia Privilege Card (KDR1M), said to be for up to 10 million Malaysians, has come under criticism from Gerakan, questioning its mechanism and usefulness.
"I think that the government is fully aware of the burden faced by ordinary Malaysians such as the rising cost of living. Hopefully, this card will be able to lessen the burden their facing," said Gerakan Youth deputy chief Oh Tong Keong.
Oh, in a statement today, however raised a crucial question regarding the distribution of the cards, asking what the mechanisms are and the criteria of being a card recipient.
"Another issue that might arise is whether the distribution of the cards really useful to Malaysians.
"Based on previous government experience through the distribution of the 1Malaysia student discount card, there is a problem where many of the shops that participated in the scheme were not major retailers and are located in the outskirts.
"We have previously voiced out this problem before," said Oh.
He said incentives should instead be given to retailers to better manage rising costs and at the same time boost consumer spending in general.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak launched the card and its accompanying website last August 7, for its first phase for police and military personnel.
According to the website, the second phase will involve "government nurses and eventually all 1.4 million civil servants", and the in the third, "all Malaysians will be able to access the 1M Privilege Portal for online shopping".
However, the website did not indicate any time frame for the second and third phases.
Another election goody?
On Thursday, Bernama reported Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Maglin Dennis D'Cruz announcing that over 10 million people will receive the card that entitles them to discounts of between 10 and 50 percent at selected merchants nationwide.
He said more than 4,500 merchants had agreed to offer discounts for their products, and the number was expected to rise.
The KDR1M covers medical clinics; restaurants; hotels; sports and fitness arenas; wholesalers and retailers; indoor and outdoor theme parks; construction and interior decoration; resorts; clothing and vehicle accessories; general insurance cover and so on.
"Discount cards already exist for the police, military and undergraduates. After this, we will issue the KDR1M, whereby all Malaysians can enjoy discounts when buying essential goods," he said when opening the new headquarters of Informasi Malaysia at No 30B, Jalan Diplomatik 3/1, Precinct 15, Putrajaya.
Maglin said KDR1M would be managed by Informasi Malaysia, an agency set up on Oct 22, 2009, to conduct programmes and activities in the effort to explain the objectives and functions of the 1Malaysia concept through the 'Buletin Informasi Malaysia' publication.
Meanwhile in September, Najib unveiled what critics have called a pre-election goodies budget.
On New Year's Eve it was reported that the government will roll out 25 of the handouts, in anticipation of the next general election that has to be called by March.--Courtesy of Malaysiakini