Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia: substance over form

Part of politics is about creating the right impression (for oneself and for one’s enemy). Self advocate is necessary to let people know that you are doing your job well.

However focusing too much on impressions can lead to substance over form.

The current prime minister has taken a different path from the previous ones in that he is quick to make announcements pertaining to private sector investment decisions, a smart move I would say, to create an impression amongst the more media savvy Malaysians that he is an “investment-generating prime minister”.

By Razak Ahmad

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Oil giants Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) will invest 15 billion ringgit ($4.9 billion) in new oil, gas and energy assets in Malaysia, the government said on Tuesday, in a move that could help the Southeast Asian country reverse a decline in output.

Pime Minister Najib Razak who announced the projects said the investments were in line with the introduction of tax breaks in November to develop new oil and gas resources and enhance recovery from ageing fields.

The planned investments by the oil companies are part of the Malaysian government's initiative to attract $444 billion in investments by 2020 to drive economic growth.

Of the total, Exxon will spend 10 billion ringgit while Shell Plc will invest 5.1 billion ringgit to upgrade and build energy facilities, the authorities said, although Shell said some of its investments had already been announced.


Meow, you remind me of someone lah.....

In the 1990’s when Malaysian economy was attracting many investors due to our novelty as an investment destination and absence of competitors like China, Vietnam and Cambodia for low cost manufacturing destination, I do not recall Dr Mahathir rushing to the podium and said so and so invested how much for such as such project.
Is there a peri bahasa sounding like “bertelor sebijih riuh sekampung”?

In fact, such stance give me the impression that only one man can generate business opportunities in Malaysia and the business community are not empowered enough to create opportunity and value on their own.
Did you ever see Clinton, Bush or Obama announcing planned investment projects in Silicon value or Sunshine Industrial Park, Arizona ?

While we are in the midst of over exposure to and frankly abuse of 1Malaysia brand, it is worth recalling the much touted, all-encompassing, tear-jerking and hope-giving Wawasan 2020 slogan which Mahathir used to garner support, only later to be replaced by Idris Jala’s “we will be bankrupt by 2019” and Mahathir’s endorsement of Perkasa.

By next decade, I won't be surprise of this 1Malaysia thingy has the same fate as Wawasan 2020 today.

The latest Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia is in substance, as this writer sees it, another branch of the Mydin chain of shops. Replace the 1Malaysia wrappers and change the signboard then it is just another Mydin outlet.

It is common for business community to make political donation and as businesses, entrepreneurs would talk about cost benefit analysis – there must be returns – so is there any favours returned? It is reasonable for a MP to request the government to disclose the details of the agreement, if any, signed between Mydin and Malaysia government for Mydin's "national service".

Is there a Plus style compensation arrangement somewhere?

Also, since the public paid for APCO’s creation, the government’s action of lending it to a private entrepreneur for commercial purposes is a bit weird. Imagine I open a fried chicken store and put KFC’s logo on my signboard. Surely I have to account to the trade mark owner?

Scroll further below and the website links clearly shows that this set up is in tandem with gearing up for a snap GE. The introduction of the store in the website also state it's stands very clear.

"About Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia
‘Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia’ is a shop operating on a mini market format, which provides various basic necessities at low prices. This initiative was inspired by our beloved Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak on his concerns for the low income citizens located in the urban areas.

This is also in line with the slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan” which has been mooted by YAB Prime Minister himself."

It is quite common for BN leaders to claim in controlled media that opposition politicalized every issues from death of Teoh Beng Hock, education, scholarship and whatever.

Now it is BN’s turn to politicalize a mere 2,000 square feet kedai runcit? While we are mesmerized by the savings of a ringgit here or there shopping in these outlets, let us not forget the insistence to push through RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka, €114 million (US$151.1 million) commission paid to a company called Perimekar, istana construction cost ballooned from RM400mil to RM800 million…and the list goes on and on….

On a more mundane level, our daily expenses bear the burden of excessive profits of privatised public functions like Plus, the IPPs, Padi Beras Nasional Berhad, Proton, Telekom, Tenaga etc. Read their annual audited accounts and check out their retained profits and dividends, i.e. exrta costs that you and I paid. There is no structural reform.

Another 1Malaysia sandiwara, if you ask me.


  1. written by fireduck, June 24, 2011 13:54:34

    1Kedai Rakyat looks to me like a scheme to channel some of the recently-saved subsidy money to a new crony. It looks like, sounds like, but perhaps .....

    First they remove subsidies for essentials like sugar, electricity, etc.. just to benefit some cronies. And remember the sugar subsidy was removed right after Robert Kuok was ousted as the sugar king. So, who benefit from the higher prices now? Obviously the new sugar king in town.

    Now they appoint just one retailer to manage these kedai-kedai runcit ... how do you think Mydin is able to offer such substantial discounts, if not for some kind of preferential pricing aka subsidies.

    Why would the govt start the 1Kedai concept just to benefit one particular retailer? Pure cronyism to me. And how would this translate to helping the people who needs help the most but are not in the urban areas where these Mydin Kedai Rakyat are located? We have those Kedai Co-op before, didn't we? Or maybe I'm wrong on that count. Anyway, why not benefit the rural folks directly by appointing the district or kampung committee to manage their own loca kedai with margins strictly controlled, and sales strictly to the local kampung folks only. That way, the people who need it most get the help.
    +4 ...
    written by Pegasus, June 24, 2011 13:46:07

    The only thing that i say is that cut the traders and vendors or middleman of the chain hook !
    +0 ...
    written by Eskay345, June 24, 2011 13:35:01

    This is a classic example of of helping the poor folks to save "pennies" but only to reward himself by robbing the community of millions if not billions, behind their backs.
    Our version of the "Robber Hood"

  2. eToro is the #1 forex broker for rookie and advanced traders.