Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pakatan Rakyat Needs To Buck Up

Although I am a DAP member and a huge supporter of Pakatan Rakyat, I must declare that I am a little disappointed as to how they have been conducting themselves of late. When it comes to seat allocations during the General Elections is it obvious that many people want their say, and the expression "washing dirty linen in public" could be very aptly used.

After an atrocious showing by Umno at their General Assembly which basically comprised of fear-mongering  the loss of Malay power, disrespect to the royal institution by the opposition and DAP bashing, I would have thought that Pakatan Rakyat, especially the DAP would capitalise on this hatred. However what has transpired since from the opposition parties have been extremely disappointing.

It is already very clear that the BN government is corrupt and racist. Umno are unapologetic in their slanderous onslaught which is dripping with racial venom and blatant lies. The MCA continues to flog the hudud horse, pitting PAS against the DAP and Gerakan offering nuggets of sense in support of electoral reform. The party missing from this equation happens to be the MIC, who have done the most intelligent thing by keeping silent.

The same cannot be said of the opposition parties. The DAP have failed to capitalise on Umno's divisiveness but have instead descended into a war of words over the "Godfather" issue. Johor DAP have also aired their grievances publicly about the state leadership, and there truly seems to be a lack of leadership.

PKR are too busy hounding Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family, and PAS are now keeping mum on Selangor State Exco Hasan Ali on one hand but on the other hand says they would close the Genting casino if they take over as the state government of Pahang. Who is the one showing leadership at the moment?

Having just attended a Strategic Advisor training, I realised that the most successful companies have inspirational leaders with a clear vision and mission. It is the belief their own vision and mission which would perpetuated through the company to the employees. Companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook have built up their own unique identities amongst their staff, and in turn, their staff become walking advertisements for their organisations.

So what is Pakatan Rakyat's vision and mission? Lim Guan Eng has been very proficient at purporting the DAP vision of a Competent, Accountable and Transparent (CAT) government. To a large extent, he has been successful at implementing this principle in Penang, and the state has the distinction of bringing in the most amount of foreign investment out of any state.

The same cannot truly be said of the other PR states especially Kedah. Although Selangor has done better under PR under the leadership of Khalid Ibrahim as compared to the Khir Toyo administration, corruption is still rampant within the state. Kedah has been subject to unnecessary controversy by trying to clamp down on 'vice' businesses during Ramadhan which would be considered to be an infringement of non-Muslim rights.

It is clear that the current BN government would continue spending ourselves into further debt and worsen the capital outflow which has already amounted to RM896 billion over the past 10 years. The corruption, croynism, and blatant plundering of the nation's coffers as well as Petronas profits would increase rather than being stemmed, and another mandate at the next general elections would simply encourage them further.

But is PR truly the answer? Could we in good conscience vote for them? The most recent surveys show that 88%-90% of newly registered ethnically Chinese youth would vote for the opposition but only 23%-26% of Malay Youth would vote for PR.

Why is there such a massive discrepancy? One could argue that the Chinese media is fairer to the opposition, and the complete capitulation of the MCA would result in a huge shift towards PR, especially the DAP. However, the Malay Youth would ultimately be influenced by the mainstream media, and Umno has made a pretty good case of protecting Malay rights.

Have PKR and PAS failed to be sufficiently Malay in this respect? Truthfully, the reality that PKR and PAS are both majority Malay parties are irrelevant. Umno have been very successful at branding their party as the "Defender of Malay Rights". This is perpetuated from the top leadership all the way to the bottom, and unlike the MCA, Umno still holds a large amount of sway with the rural folk.

Right now what PKR, PAS and the DAP have to do is plan a united front and the same message must be proclaimed from every member of each component party. There is no doubt that PR is able to govern. They have been able to do so in four states with varying degrees of success. This is the time to step up, so please do not give the Rakyat an excuse to stay at home come polling day.

The next general election is looming and perhaps this is a good time for PR leaders to reflect on their values and plan a combined mounted offensive come the New Year. It is no use waving the Buku Jingga in our faces or pointing to the superior FDI figures any longer. We need strong, confident leaders who would be united in one voice and with one vision for the nation.

There is a simple reason why Najib's "1Malaysia" failed whereas the Umno "Ketuanan Melayu" succeeds. When it is written in the hearts and minds of their members, they make others believe. This is the season for miracles.

Pakatan Rakyat, make us believe.

Published in:

Free Malaysia Today ('Tis the season for miracles)

Malaysia Chronicle (To guarantee victory, Pakatan too needs to buck up)

Friday, December 2, 2011

KR1M: The cold hard facts

I truly appreciate Dato' Ameer Ali Mydin writing to Free Malaysia Today and giving his side of story after my column "Kedai Rakyat: Pulling a fast one". Once again, it truly is an honour that my articles have drawn the attention of Ministries and now Mydin, and I hope it would continue to do so as the rakyat deserves to know the facts. 

Let me first clarify that I do not write on behalf of the DAP and my views do not necessary reflect that of the DAP. What interests me more is the truth, or whether or not arguments and explanations put forth on certain issues can be substantiated. In this day and age, public scrutiny is always a good thing in order to ensure that the rakyat's money is spent fairly and wisely. 

Therefore, I was only able to base my facts on a combination of what is public knowledge and press releases on the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia website. I am glad that KR1M has decided to give us the facts directly so that we are able to do a more indepth analysis of the whole issue. 

Refurbishment Costs

Firstly, I would like to apologise to Mydin for my remark that renovations of the KR1M stores could be renovated for RM70,000. What this assumption did not take into consideration were cost such as the chillers and freezers, in addition to the CCTV and POS system costs. 

Taking Mydin's advice to 'do my homework', I went around to interview several contractors and they revealed several interesting points during our discussions. At the cost of RM250,000 to RM750,000 for a space of 1,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet, the cost of doing the renovation would be between RM150 to RM167 per square foot.

At first glance, these quotes are very good for these contractors and they would want to do the project. However to avoid misunderstanding, would Mydin be so kind to provide the Bill of Quantities (B.Q) so that contractors can send in their quotes? This would be to the benefit of Mydin and the rakyat to save cost, wouldn't you agree? 

Store openings

I clearly explained how I derived the number of stores to be 31 in my article. I took it that 6 outlets were opened with 25 more to open next year, therefore we would come to a total of 31 outlets. Perhaps I could humbly request that KR1M keeps their website up to date to avoid misunderstanding. 

After the clarification, we now understand that the subsidy of RM40 million is for 85 outlets to be opened across the country by 2012. This includes the seven stores already opened and 25 more to be opened this year. We shall watch this space to see whether it really happens. 

However, I have a feeling the money has already been paid out in full. Can Mydin clarify this point? With so many other scandals going on, we do not want Mydin's reputation to be tarnished if they remain silent on the matter. I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt.

KR1M Product Quality

Unfortunately, when it comes to defending the quality of KR1M products, perhaps Mydin could have done a little more checking before being so enthusiastic to defend his products. I can accept that the generic KR1M products to be equivalent in quality to their branded counterparts, but please forgive me and the public of being sceptical in light of the new evidence. 

Ameer Ali Mydin wrote in his letter, I quote "It baffles me as to whoever gave you the idea that generic products are of lower quality. Please read up the meaning of generic products before you make such assumptions and in this case, allegations." He went on to target Tony Pua by saying "To date we have only unfounded, unsubstantiated allegations by Tony Pua. If he can so kindly provide his test reports to the ministry, I'm sure they would take appropriate action."

I think that the report from the Ministry of Health on Friday would be absolutely devastating as the "allegations" have proven to be true. Dato' Hassan Abdul Rahman agreed that the KR1M items tested by Tony Pua, Dr Dzukefly Ahmad and Nurul Izzah failed the standards set by the government, except for the creamer which is pending further investigation. 

Items specifically include the following findings as tweeted by Tony Pua:

1. MoH concedes that ice-cream product was wrongly labeled and has instructed re-labelling as "frozen confection
2. MoH accepted that "frozen confection" is still being sold as ice-cream after being given proof of receipt & price label
3. MoH admitted that own test on Krimer Pekat Manis showed 1Msia product exceeded maximum 76% sugar content
4.  MoH agreed that evaporated krimer is wrongly sold as "evaporated MILK" and will take necessary action
5. MoH admitted that when 155g sardine tins were tested, 3 out of 5 did not meet 55% net fish weight requirement
6. MoH agreed the Kari Ayam tin was inadequately labeled and failed to comply with Clause 147 or 151 of Food Regulations '85
7. MoH noted the conflict in Growing Up Milk ingredient label - "susu pepejal rendah lemak" or "instant whole milk powder"
8. MoH agrees that both "follow up milk" and "growing up milk" serves kids aged 1-3 but says covered under different law
9. MoH agrees that GrowingUpMilk serves 3888IU of vitamin A per day exceeding limit for 1800IU children under 3
10. MoH informed that they've "advised" supplier of 1Msia Growing Up Milk to cut excessive Vitamin A & top up other nutrients


With regards to the remarks made about foreign hypermarkets and also other operators running KR1M stores, that is a government matter, so I will not rebut any of the points made as Mydin knows their industry best.

However, I would like to say that Malaysians should embrace foreign competition as it would ensure the Rakyat receives the best prices and services, as well as creates jobs and stimulates the economy. As for the KR1M concept, it may be a CSR initiative but as 1Malaysia is a brand in itself, there would be no need to spend on advertising for it.

It is true that many journalists and politicians make empty allegations against the federal government, Members of Parliament and even government linked companies. However, it is becoming apparent that there is a tangible silence when allegations are revealed to be true, or there is a substantial amount of finger pointing to divert attention from the core issues.

I have absolutely nothing against Mydin or their companies. They have been upstanding, well respected businesses in the industry and serve their customers with integrity and professionalism. However, we want to ensure that this is maintained and criticism is supposed to help improve the services provided. Is this not why so many companies have feedback forms?

My compulsion to write again on this topic is because I do not think that it is fair to accuse me of making allegations when there is evidence to confirm them. When I am wrong tell me that I’m wrong. However do not tell me I am wrong, when it is proven to be true.

Ameer Ali Mydin closed off his letter by remarking "It appears that making false, unsubstantiated allegations is the easy part for Douglas Tan. The difficult part is for him to justify the allegations, unfortunately the damage to the IKS Suppliers and KR1M is already done." 

Well, it appears that I have. Checkmate.

Exclusive to Free Malaysia Today (

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Najib in a tail-spin?

Is Najib in a tail-spin?

By Dr. Dzukelfly Ahmad

NOV 30 — Najib Razak must be trembling. Nothing could be more terrifying to a premier than the prospect of losing a general election. For Najib, that is an understatement.
Worse still, he will go down in history as the “appointed” prime minister of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government that eventually lost its uninterrupted power to the opposition. That is indeed extremely scary. Losing is, thus, not an option for Najib.
But Najib’s penchant for flip-flopping is almost ingrained in his demeanour and style of leadership. Blaming it on “nature” is contrary to the “consistency” of the second prime minister of this nation.
Beyond just flip-flopping, this writer would now have to believe that Najib hasn’t got what it takes to bring this ailing nation out of its unending doldrums and despondency.
Najib doesn’t quite understand, or at least doesn’t exude understanding of the “change process”, much less a passion and a commitment to see it through. That is even more distressing, to say the least.
Indeed, Najib has actually failed grasp the fact that, without “reformation”, the hope for “transformation” is a merely an illusion.
His revulsion for the word “Reformasi” could very well be his greatest “blind-spot” for the need to undertake genuine fundamental and structural reforms before he could ever hope to see a “Transformation”, both in the economics and political sphere.
In the same vein, without the “real reform” in the New Economic Model, Najib’s Economic Transformation Programme and Entry Point Programmes are in fact a large-scale, anti-cyclical Keynesian pump-priming from Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s “Mahathirnomics”.
Najib’s failure to incorporate “real reform” in the NEM is the stifling factor has disabled the nation to propel into a higher performing economy with a concomitant higher income per capita.
Perkasa, contracted by Najib’s party, continues their vitriolic racial slurs. Never has religious understanding taken a worse beating. The major-ethnic-and-religion-under-siege narrative is evidently “laughable”.
He could talk in London, New York and Washington of opening up the public space and moderation in Islam when in fact the hollowness of his pronouncements is what we as Malaysians have to live with.
On the back of his oft-repeated mantra of “Government Transformation”, the colossal losses as evident by the Auditor-General’s report remained unabated, to the disgust of many a tax-payer. The endemic leakages remain agonising.
Critical examples of fiscal mismanagement such as Shahrizat Jalil’s National Feedlot Corp’s meltdown stood as a testimony. The impunity with which cronies live off government funds whilst BN ministers, Najib included, call for austerity and a “rationalisation” on subsidy, is a cardinal sin.
Millions have been spent on international consulting firms that went on an orgy of image building rampage. Fresh in the minds of many is the shocking revelation that RM55 million of tax-payers’ money was used for expensive propaganda to glorify Najib, his government and his policies, screened on international channels like CNN, CNBC and BBC.
Najib must stop his fervour for “window-dressing” — the illusion something is being done when nothing of consequence is being accomplished. Never mind the bicycle-ride, on the bus, breakfast with the new social media Facebook-Twitter friends, etc. But beyond those, nothing much were achieved.
He has almost perfected the art but failed miserably on the “real reforms”. With genuine “reforms” constantly side-stepped, “transformation” is a far-cry. That’s deplorable.
Has Najib’s grandstanding of September 15 come to naught? The much-hyped political reforms, promised by Najib to bring us into a new era of the “best democracy’, have exploded in the face of the rakyat as a sham to democratisation.
The rakyat were promised that the internal Security Act (ISA) would be revoked and they were jubilant. Their joy was short-lived, however, when it was later revealed that two other laws would replace the ISA, retaining the obnoxious detention without trial.
The same undemocratic features of the ISA will now come under a new rubric, gravely disappointing the rakyat and further deepening their distrust and disgust towards Najib.
The infamous “revolutionary” Bill ensued and what was supposedly to be a “giant leap” for the nation. The rakyat were promised democratic freedom of assembly without the need for police permit. They were again ecstatic until they realised that the Peaceful Assembly Bill was in fact to deny their democratic right to assemble.
It wasn’t meant to be a Peaceful Assembly Bill — it is a Bill against the Freedom of Assembly. The Bill imposes many unjust restrictions and conditions. Organisers and all participants are subjected to heavy penalties. It is clearly meant to discourage bona-fide dissent and protests from ever taking place.
The entire civil society and the opposition are united against him. Najib has a few options: to withdraw the Bill, to refer it to a Parliamentary Select Committee, or to simply blame it on others. Granted, his choice is obvious.
A gathering of disgruntled lawyers marched yesterday from the Lake Gardens to Parliament in protest against the Peaceful Assembly Bill, which has made a huge mockery of the fundamental liberty as enshrined in the Federal Constitution in Article 10.
With Bersih 3.0 so real in the horizon, it only takes Hindraf 2.0 to be back on stage to trigger for Najib a disastrous tail-spin reminiscent of event preceding the 12th general election.
His worst nightmare would still be his party’s dissenting warlords, whom he has to appease and cajole in the on-going general assembly.
Is an “Umno Spring” ever plausible on the verge of the 13th GE looming closer? Another long deferred reform has again to take a back-seat.
The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is Freedom truly Free?

After reading so many reports and articles on the Peaceful Assembly Bill especially with accusations being cast on both sides of the political divide, I believe that we have to go back to the root cause of the issue and examine it in a holistic and pragmatic manner. 

Trampling on our rights

First we must go back to the fundamental question as to whether the law, specifically Malaysian law, really stifles dissent and tramples on human rights. 

Indeed, we have examples of Ministers using their discretionary authority under the law in cases where there is no probable cause. Therefore that would lead us to believe that power was abused. 

Examples include the detention of a reporter, Raja Petra Kamarrudin and Teresa Kok under the draconian Internal Security Act, as well as the extra-judicial declaration that "Bersih" T-shirts are illegal as they represent an illegal organisation. 

I would submit that the examples I cited above represents a disproportionate response to the actual situation. This leads to awkward explanations afterwards which include the "She was detained for her own protection" and "because it represents an illegal activity" type of reasoning. Hardly impressive. 

There is no doubt that the current Barisan Nasional government has a history of abusing their powers under the law in order to preserve their own affair. However, by branding their discretion at making these arrests "to protect national interest and public property", many people as members of the public are led to believe by the Mainstream Media that the response was correct and proportionate. 

Bersih 2.0

The rally that truly triggered the necessity to call into question the Police Act provision on illegal assemblies was indeed Bersih 2.0. 

The 9th July 2011 is a day which would truly go down in infamy. Dubbed "709", we witnessed how the police doused the public with chemical-laced water and tear gas. Retreating into Tung Shin Hospital provided no respite when the Federal Reserve Unit decided to shoot the water into the compound. 

A rally to call for Free and Fair elections, which was entirely peaceful, was turned violent by police manhandling protesters. Protesters forced to disperse by violent means could have potentially created a stampede and it is only by the grace of God that there were not more casualties. 

Being in amongst the crowds, I believe how the FRU and police responded was truly disproportionate, although many quarters claimed they exercised a considerable amount of restraint. As a person who ingested tear gas into my system, I would beg to differ. 

But what was worse than the actual FRU and police crackdown, was the complete cover up of the Mainstream Media. The government went all out to deny the public the truth, and published their own version of events. This is despite an enormous amount of photographic and video evidence, which were posted in real time as the event occurred. 

So perhaps the true question to ponder is that, despite promised reforms in the law, including the repeal of the ISA and introduction of the Peaceful Assembly Bill, what is the check and balance to prevent Ministers from abusing their discretion under the Acts or issuing extra-judicial proclamations? 

Section 27 of the Police Act

The law causing the most amount of controversy is section 27 of the Police Act 1967 which deals specifically with illegal assembly. Under the draconian law, it was seen as a serious inhibition of any kind public assembly and gave the police the power to detain persons involved without a warrant (s27(6)). 

Holding a demonstration requires a police permit, and the senior district police officer has the absolute discretion to approve or deny the permit. Additionally under subsection 2, they can cancel the permit at any time. Police also "may do all things necessary for dispersing them and for arresting them". The scope of this provision is massive, which would protect the police from any allegation of brutality. 

There is no doubt that this section has to be abolished. It is fundamentally unconstitutional as it contravenes Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees the right to assemble peaceably. After a huge amount of pressure, the BN government appeared to relent by tabling the Peaceful Assembly Act. 

Truly a reform?

After a lot of condemnation from the Bar Council and Opposition MPs, we have to examine whether or not it should be called the "Anti-Assembly Bill" or "Illegal Assembly Bill" as proposed by some quarters. 

Notice of the assembly was proposed to be 30 days, which has since been revised to 10 days, after Myanmar's assembly bill which specified a 5 day notice period put us to shame. Under the Police Act, no time period is specified. However the need for a police permit is eliminated. I would take this development to be a good thing. 

However, let's look into the more contentious part of the bill. The fines of RM10,000 for participation in what is deemed as an illegal assembly, the prohibition of children at gatherings, limits in proximity to public places, places a complete ban on street demonstrations and the same scope of power given to the police as under section 27 of the Police Act. This throws up a lot of issues which would potentially cripple the freedom to assemble as under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. 

Firstly, the fine of RM10,000 is clearly to deter anyone from coming to a protest or demonstration. Who can afford to be RM10,000 out of pocket? So, even if the cause is legitimate and of national concern, if the police uses their discretion to prohibit the assembly, the citizen is penalised heavily as a result? 

The prohibition of children is contentious as gatherings are supposed to be peaceful, and families would bring their children along with them. Penalising the parents for bringing their children along, rather than leaving them at home alone would be another reason for people to avoid protests. Additionally, there is the question of enforcement. When tear gas and chemical laced water are fired, would the police round the children up first? Unthinkable. 

With the list of restricted places so extensive, it appears that protest cannot happen unless you are out in the countryside! The government would say that this is to protect the interests of the people, but basically it is to give the police an excuse to accuse the group of being in a prohibited area, and thus have the authority to disperse the assembly. This would be especially true of any ceramahs held by the Opposition parties, and would affect whoever is in Opposition in future.

No to Street Demos

However, the one thing that riles up opposition MPs more than anything else, is the prohibition of street demonstrations, and that police are afforded the same scope of powers under the Bill. This would mean that Bersih 2.0 would be handled in exactly the same way under the new law as the old. For many, this is unacceptable.

Not everyone agrees with street marches, demonstrations or protests, but to place a complete ban on it would contravene the spirit of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. Even our courts agree, as found in Cheah Beng Poh & Ors v Pendakwa Raya [1983] 1 LNS 65. The High Court Judge Hashim Yeop A Sani opined the following:

“The court as guardian of the rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution is always jealous of any attempt to tamper with rights and liberties. But the right in issue here i.e. the right to assemble peaceably without arms is not absolute for the Constitution allows Parliament to impose by law such restrictions as it deems necessary in the interest of security and public order. In my view, what the court must ensure is only that any such restrictions may not amount to a total prohibition of the basic right so as to nullify or render meaningless the right guaranteed by the Constitution.” 

In the case of Sivarasa Rasiah v Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor [2010] 3 CLJ 507, Federal Court Gopal Sri Ram opined the following:

“Now although the article says ‘restrictions’, the word ‘reasonable’ should be read into the provision to qualify the width of the proviso… The correct position is that when reliance is placed by the State to justify under one or more of the provisions of Article 10(2) of the Federal Constitution, the question for determination is whether the restriction that the particular statute imposes is reasonably necessary and expedient for one or more of the purposes specified in that article.”

Therefore the BN government cannot impose a complete ban on street protests unless they are willing to run afoul of the constitution.

Law vs Freedom

So is there a need for a law to govern Article 10, or shall we just leave the law as it is? I believe that we certainly have a need for a law to govern this. However, does making a law impinge on our ability to exercise our rights as per the constitution?

The issue of peaceful assemblies has certainly been a contentious one in our country, and most recently we saw 300 people gathering in KLCC park in protest of this very bill. But is it correct to allow an absolute freedom? Some argue that societies with sufficient maturity should not have their rights infringed upon by legislation.

However, I would liken this to removing all the lines, traffic lights, zebra crossings and speed limits on our roads. Now people are truly free to drive on the road, but would you dare? True freedom has boundaries. That way, we know the parameters to operate within.

Therefore, a Peaceful Assembly Bill is certainly essential. However, does the current piece of proposed legislation do us justice? I would submit that it does not. Laws must give space and act as guidelines, but not to the extent that it is stifling.

What are the main issues? One is public security, and the concern that a protest may turn violent. Where this is indeed the case, the burden of responsibility should lie on the shoulders of the culprits and the organisers. What this would do is that protestors would be able to self-police in order to avoid such incidents from occurring.

How about public order? This is where the police come in. If it is indeed a street protest, the police can cordon off the route and ensure that order is kept by escorting the procession to their final destination. This would ensure that there is no damage done, and the peace is kept. Traders along the way may experience a small interruption, but a business blackout like during Bersih 2.0 would not occur.

I believe that our Prime Minister is serious about making Malaysia “the world’s best democracy”. However, Malaysia as a member of the United Nations Human Rights council should surely be held to a higher standard. 

On Tuesday, lawyers from the Bar Council and others will march to parliament. Najib has a golden opportunity to do the right thing. Heed the voice of the people and make the appropriate amendments.

Written for Free Malaysia Today


Also published on:

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Mydin’s response to ‘Kedai Rakyat pulling a fast one’

This is me being roasted by Mydin. Probably have to do a bit more research into the allegations made by Tony Pua to see if the allegations made were true:

Mydin’s response to ‘Kedai Rakyat pulling a fast one’

November 25, 2011

FMT LETTER From Ameer Ali Mydin, via e-mail
KR1M would like to respond to several issues raised by Douglas Tan in his article, ‘Kedai Rakyat pulling a fast one’. Our products are generic products. There are no advertising cost, no frills on packaging, and produced by local suppliers and manufacturers.
As a result, we are able to save advertising charges and bring down the cost and by selling at a very small margin, KR1M products are 30%-50% cheaper against popular brands which are mostly international brands. In fact, KR1M generic products when compared to other hypermarket generic products of similar quality are also much cheaper.
On the question of the number of outlets,KR1M has already opened seven outlets, there will be a total of 25 outlets by year end 2011 and 60  will be opened in year 2012.  Therefore, by year end 2012, there will be in total 85 KR1M outlets all over Malaysia.
On the open tender process, KR1M is not privy to how the decision was made. We can only guess that as Mydin being the largest local retailer with experiences in wholesale and retail, coupled with existing supply chains, and willing to open KR1M on a CSR basis, we were chosen to run the KR1M stores operationally.
No KR1M products are more expensive than the current market price of similar quality products. We would appreciate if actual products can be highlighted and not just shoot from the hip.
At our press conference on Nov 14, we stated very clearly that Tony Pua has maliciously compared KR1M generic products with Carrefour Big Savers products of different quality when rightfully he should have compared KR1M generic products with Carrefour brand products and when compared correctly, all KR1M products are much cheaper.
It defies logic on why Tony Pua has never replied nor clarified nor disclosed why he did this.
When conducting promotions, retail stores usually have a budget to work with, in bringing down the promotional prices.  These are usually applied within a certain promotional period and many a time, for a short duration only.  After the promotional period is over, prices will rise up again and back to normal. For KR1M products, prices are maintained low at all times to ensure that it benefits the Rakyat. So, it defies logic again on how Douglas Tan can compare say, two days paranormal offers with KR1M prices which are maintained long-term. Let us be fair here.
Prices of other popular brands are determined by their respective manufacturers. There is a RSP set determined for the products. It is not true as per what was mentioned by Douglas Tan that generic labels are associated with lower quality products. Generic products are priced cheaper as what I have mentioned earlier as there are no advertising costs and no frills on packaging.
It baffles me as to whoever gave you the idea that generic products are of lower quality. Please read up the meaning of generic products before you make such assumptions and in this case, allegations.
Generic brands have been available in the market for a long time even in the US and other developed countries and are well-received as the prices are low and helps their citizens to save.  It is just like how hypermarkets came out with their respective House Brands. I just do not understand why when we are trying to adopt the good practice from other developed countries, we receive so much objections and cynical remarks from fellow Malaysians even though it is for a good cause.
I also fail to understand why, despite Tony Pua shouting at every corner in wanting to help “poor Malaysians”, he does not want to pass the test results to the Ministry of Health which any responsible citizen should do for the improvement of mankind? More so, being a MP.
We have thus far no issues on our procurement department which maintains the highest  standard, as stated above. Tony Pua’s assertions and allegations are unfounded.
On the claims that RM40 million was spent to renovate 31 stores at a cost of RM1.3 million per store,  may we know how Douglas Tan arrived at the figures? KR1M would love to give him a contract to do all our renovations and assets purchases, if he can even do the smallest KR1M outlet at RM70,000. Please do not say things based on assumptions or know nothing about without doing proper homework.
RM40 million has been allocated by the Government to set up KR1M stores all across the country. The amount is used for renovations only fit-out works such as tiling, ceiling and lighting installation, painting, cashier counters, display racks, signboard, equipment such as chillers and freezers, computer systems, CCTV and Point Of Sales (POS) System.
Please be informed that the cost to set up a new KR1M outlet is between RM250,000 to RM750,000 depending on the size of the store which are from 1,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet. So, it is estimated that 85 outlets at an average cost of RM470,000 would utilise the total budget of RM40million.
Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) was formed to ease the burdens of the low income earners in the urban areas. The operational aspect of KR1M is being handled by MyMydin, the team that specialises in mini-market concept store operations, which Franchise is open to Malaysian entrepreneurs who want to embark on retail business.
The whole concept of MyMydin operations now has become a benchmark to all other mini market operators. The idea has been accepted by the public and its credibility is proven by the increasing sales record in all of its stores.
In addition to that, other mom-and-pop stores are also widely called upon to sell KR1M products in their existing shops so that consumers can reap more benefits by having more KR1M products available in other mom-and-pop stores.
I do not see how KR1M’s presence can be a threat to mom-and-pop stores, but instead complement their business. There is no subsidy involved in goods being sold in KR1M.
Why appoint Mydin to operate these stores? Mydin has been appointed as the operator and administrator of KR1M to ensure the existence of KR1M in the country will serve the Rakyat with the hope of lightening the cost of living.
Mydin has 54 years of experience in the wholesale and retail business, and therefore, it is well established in terms of personal retail management and state of the art supply chain management systems. Mydin is the only homegrown hypermarket which realised the idea of creating KR1M was brilliant, and a great way to incorporate it into Mydin CSR programme.
Mydin has also proven to be a role model and a champion by giving IKS and PKS suppliers and manufacturers the opportunity to grow big and be successful in the retail market. Such opportunities are rarely given by other foreign operators as their objectives are merely to reap profits from our beloved country.
We feel everyone and anyone can ask to do this. There is no monopoly here. The willing operator would have to show its ability to run the KR1M outlets on a CSR basis. We would, of course, be more than happy if other local retailers such as Econsave, 99 Speedmart and Sunrise would offer to do KR1M outlets.
Please let us not be so naïve and ask the foreign hypermarkets as this would also result in them controlling our modern retail trade in small formats.  As you should be aware, foreign hypermarkets already control more than 50% of modern retail trade currently.
There are no extravagant costs involve, therefore, taxpayers need not to be worried. As this is a CSR programme, the operator is obliged to absorb certain costs involved when operating KR1M outlets.
The products have not failed on any Malaysian standards set by the Ministry of Health as they have been in the market even before the 1Malaysia brand came about and has been widely accepted by consumers. All of the manufacturers of these products have been in the market for many years and are very reputable.
I’m sure the ministry has been conducting many check across all brands to ensure the safety of  consumers is not compromised in any way and the 1Malaysia brand has and will always give priority to acceptable quality and great low prices to give great savings and overall benefit to the Rakyat.
To date, we have only unfounded, unsubstantiated allegations by Tony Pua. If he can so kindly provide his test reports to the ministry, I’m sure they will take appropriate action.
It appears that making false, unsubstainted allegations is the easy part for Douglas Tan. The difficult part is for him to justify the allegations, unfortunately the damage to the IKS Suppliers and KR1M is already done.
KR1M hopes that Douglas Tan will be more of a responsible journalist and as he claims “is an active member of the DAP but does not let it define his opinions”.