KUALA LUMPUR: The government has allocated RM40 million to implement the Price Standardisation programme and RM225 million for the Essential Goods Distribution Programme, LPG and Community Drumming for next year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said the two programmes were the two components of the Price Standardisation Programme implemented by the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry.
The acting Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister said the programmes were implemented as part of intervention measures to address the substantial differences in prices of essential goods between rural and other areas.
“The programmes also cover the cost of transporting seven subsidised or controlled items, namely rice, sugar, wheat flour, cooking oil, LPG, RON95 petrol, and diesel, from suppliers to rural areas in Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang.
“It is to ensure that residents in rural areas can buy the seven items at the controlled prices mentioned, which are the same as the prices in the nearest city or town,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time.
He said this in reply to a question from Riduan Rubin (Independent-Tenom) about the effectiveness of the Price Standardisation Programme in addressing the cost of living issue of the people in rural areas, especially in Sabah.
Citing an example, Armizan said prior to the implementation of the initiative, the price of a 14-kg of LPG in the Pensiangan Zone was RM65 per cylinder, but after the programmes were implemented, it was sold for RM26.60 each.
“For Sabah alone, these programmes involve 69 zones with a total of 216 areas and have a direct impact on more than 525,000 people,” he said.
In response to a supplementary question from Riduan on whether the ministry intends to establish a price standardisation mechanism for subsidised and non-subsidised essential goods in Sabah, Armizan said for the time being, priority is on controlled goods and expanding the number of point-of-sale zones.
“For example, in 2019, there were 1,601 point-of-sale areas nationwide involved in the programmes, and we will expand them to 1,727 point-of-sale in 2024,” he said. – Bernama