Some 20,000 village folks here will enjoy standard pricing on essential goods by July 1 this year as 10 co-operatives come together to undertake the ‘One Sarawak, One Price’ campaign.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the 10 co-operatives in the Serian area would come together to undertake this as a pilot project- a first of its kind in Malaysia involving co-operatives.
“This is the first in Malaysia where co-operatives are involved as wholesalers and the co-operatives here will be model co-operatives to others,” he told a press conference at Kampung Tebakang Melayu here yesterday.
He said Kampung Bunan Berhad Co-operative would be the ‘anchor’ co-operative that would purchase goods in bulk form and sell them at whole-seller prices to the other co-operative businesses and other little shops as well.
The nine other co-operatives are Sungkuh Banta Ma Dagang Berhad Co-operative, Kampung Mongkos Berhad Co-operative, Kampung Bidayuh Tebakang Berhad Co-operative, Kampung Pichin Berhad Co-operative, Mayang Tembawang Berhad Co-operative, Kampung Melayu Tebakang Berhad Co-operative, Mentu Pundok Berhad Co-operative, Batu Bedang Berhad Co-operative and Kampung Riih Mawang Berhad Co-operative.
It was learnt that all 10 co-operatives had a total of 5,000 members.
He pointed out that even though co-operatives were involved in this, it did not mean that the standardisation of prices was only meant for members of the co-operatives.
He said the good thing about getting the involvement of co-operatives was that co-operatives could assist the government in standardising prices in the country, and if co-operatives were active, they could easily control part of the wholesale trade in the near future.
According to him, about 55 per cent of supermarket outlets in Singapore are headed by co-operatives.
Currently, he said, Malaysia had 6.5 million co-operative members and this figure was expected to rise to 8 million by 2012.
By this year also, the gross turnover of co-operatives was expected to reach RM10 billion, he said, adding that their current gross turnover was RM7 billion.
He said in areas without co-operatives, the government would have to identify and appoint bigger companies as the whole-saler to the other little shops there.
“Although the government endeavours to have all rural folk enjoy the same price by the end of this year, it would not be so easy given that it has to identify ‘point-of-sales’ to act as wholesales in all the areas,” he said.
Earlier on he said rural folks in Sarawak would soon enjoy the same pricing on essential goods as their urban counterparts.
He said that the ‘One Sarawak, One Price’ campaign, which would eventually be extended throughout the state, would see the government absorbing the cost of transporting goods thus making it possible for price standardisation.
He explained that by absorbing transportation cost, shops in rural areas would have no reason to hike their prices and rural folks would pay the same amount as their urban counterparts were paying for essential goods.
Through his visits to rural areas, he said he found that the prices of essential goods, including controlled items, were higher than in urban areas.
“For example, here (Tebakang Dayak and Tebakang Melayu) while the ceiling price for sugar is RM1.45 it is sold at RM1.80. Gas, ceiling price is RM24.50 but it is being sold at RM26 here,” he said.
He said although there was an Act by which authorities could take action against these rural traders, it would not be fair given that these traders were shouldering the transport cost to get these goods to their shops.
That was why, he said, the government was stepping in to absorb these extra costs so rural folks would not have to fork out more.
Besides Kampung Tebakang Melayu, Ismail also visited Kampung Tebakang Dayak.
He then officiated at the launch of Kampung Bunan Berhad Co-operative as the ‘anchor’ co-operative in the area and also closed the Gawai Festival Homestay level at Kampung Mongkos.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture (Farmer’s Organistation and Co-operatives) Datuk Peter Nyarok Entrie and Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia (SKM) executive chairman Datuk Mangsor Saad.