The coming of 13th General Elections is behind numerous policy initiatives which otherwise may not make much sense: eg the 1Kedai initiative started by the government-which supposedly offer goods at discounted prices to people hard hit by inflation. Where do the discount come from if not from the same restricted government budget? The rational policy should be to correct the economic policies to combat inflation-stop gap measures to reduce prices will not be sustainable. But the coming of elections make sense of such `policy’! Is BN/UMNO the only party that can come out with such policies?
In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has been known to distribute cheap meat and other goods ahead of election. The measure certainly do not last and not meant to last. The objective is the same: trying to buy votes! They are meant to be substitute of sound economic policies that do not contribute to inflation. Eg the hiking of electricity, fuel, water rates, road tolls etc -all done by government or Government linked companies, are big contributors of inflation. In comparison to such long term measures that suck the people’s money the discounts at 1Kedai is not able to make up for the inflationary pressures on the people’s life. However the same government is happy to trumpet that they are doing something about inflation with their government’s `power’ and `money’!
But there is a crucial difference between what Malaysian government is doing and what happen in Egypt. The latter do not abuse any government resources to deliver their cheap meat-though the intention is the same. Can BN/UMNO dig into their own coffer to roll out 1Kedai all over Malaysia? What is the role of corporate ally of the party like Mydin in the 1Kedai schemes? Are they allowed to benefit from the scheme by combining the bulk procurement of their shop chain and that of 1Kedai? Is there any competitive tender to supply to the 1Kedai schemes which is after all bankrolled by the government? Who, other than the UMNO/BN cronies can run a 1Kedai shops?