THE two Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) outlets in Miri city seem to have shut down their operations.
The outlets in Pujut and Senadin housing estates have remained shut for many months now.
Late last year, the Federal Government said the KR1M concept may be abolished as the quality of items sold were not up to the standard.
Personally, I cannot comment on the standards of the items sold at these outlets but found items such as soap and shampoo cost about 30% less here compared to supermarkets.
There is no denying that KR1M benefitted many from the lower income group and as such should not be done away with.
The Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Affairs Ministry should instead expand the KR1M concept to all rural and semi-rural areas in Sarawak.
Allow the community and village cooperatives to acquire permits to set up KR1M outlets to enable villagers to buy essential items at cheaper prices.
The people in rural and semi-rural districts in Sarawak must have access to cheaper but good quality items, especially foodstuff.
Do not only issue licences to companies and entrepreneurs to operate the outlets in the state.
The ministry can even work on providing grants to cooperatives in the rural and semi rural villages to help them set up KR1M.
A few years ago, cooperatives in Sarawak proposed that each cooperative be given RM150,000 grant by the ministry to set up KR1M.Once opened, they proposed for it to be managed by the villagers through their cooperatives.
Sadly, nothing was done.
The ministry must collect data on KR1M in Sarawak and instead of killing the concept, maybe expand it here at least.