‘Merely offering a filling meal’

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no risk of the Menu Rahmah initiative taking away business from small-time operators, says the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister.

Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said this is because the initiative has limited menu options whose only objective is to provide a filling meal.

“Those looking for something extra or have a specific craving for something will likely not go for the options under Menu Rahmah.

“I doubt there will be much direct competition as the target groups of customers for Menu Rahmah and small-time food traders are very different,” he told reporters after launching Menu Rahmah for Presma (the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association) at a nasi kandar restaurant in Cheras here yesterday.

He was responding to claims from small-time food traders that they have been affected by the initiative as many of them are not able to offer their food at lower prices due to the rising cost of ingredients.

Salahuddin said the Menu Rahmah initiative is completely voluntary and the ministry had not spent any funds so far on it.

“This initiative is a voluntary cooperative effort between the ministry and industry players for the sake of ensuring affordable meals for all.

“No operator is forced to join the programme, and they can opt to discontinue offering Menu Rahmah at any time if they believe their business can no longer afford it.

“We have not imposed any mandate on any restaurants to force them to join the initiative as we understand that not every business can afford to provide a RM5 meal,” he added.

Salahuddin also said Menu Rahmah for more fast-food chains would likely be announced by next week as discussions were still ongoing.

He added that his ministry would be looking to expand the programme to other major industries including oil and gas, banking and other economic and corporate sectors.

“If we have (an engagement session) with major corporations like PETRONAS, Sime Darby and government-related companies as well as banks, I’m confident even more companies will come forward to assist the government in reducing living costs,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

Last week, he said that his ministry had held engagements with several fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King to get them to participate in the Menu Rahmah initiative.

The initiative was launched on Jan 31 and offers affordable meals at RM5 or less for lunch or dinner at nearly 15,000 premises nationwide.

The meals comprise a balanced simple meal that includes rice, a choice of protein (chicken or fish) and vegetables.

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