Tuesday, March 2

‘Transport subsidy system up for review’

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Chong inspects one of the canned food products at the supermarket. Behind him are (from right) Ling, Dr Tiong and Khor.

MIRI: The government wants to review the subsidy system for the transportation of goods to the rural areas in Sarawak.

According to Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, this move is meant to ensure that there would be no leakage in the provision of subsidies slated for the benefit of the rural populace.

“We do not deny that there had been leakages in subsidised schemes (by the government) before, so I will bring this matter to the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNKK) to be discussed and hopefully, it (subsidy system) would be reviewed for the benefit of the people.

“We want a better and more efficient system that would enable us to monitor the situation in the rural areas without having to involve the nomination of staff in the ministry here,” he told reporters after visiting a popular business premises here yesterday.

On the proposed review, Chong said it would cover various aspects including geographical conditions in the countryside.

He said for the ministry to convert an ‘old’ (existing) system, it would not be an easy task as it would involve surveys among staff and officials at various levels, as well as the locals, and also it would have to consider the geographical aspects of the rural areas, with the distance of some points-of-sales (POS) reaching more than 100km into the interiors.

On the said leakages within the existing system, Chong said they could be attributed to the lack of staff monitoring over 1,600 POS in the rural pockets across Sarawak.

“So we need the best system to solve this problem,” he added.

Earlier, Chong reassured the public that the re-introduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would have less impact than the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that it replaced.

“I want to conclude – under the GST, the people had to pay RM43 billion; under the SST instead, we estimate that the people would only need to pay RM24 billion, which could help us stimulate the country’s economy and development,” he stressed.

Earlier during his visit to KPDNKK Miri office, Chong called upon the staff there to uphold and perform their duties diligently and with integrity, towards ensuring that the people would benefit from the subsidy schemes and programmes provided by the government.

The deputy minister was accompanied by Senator Alan Ling, Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon, KPDNKK Sarawak deputy director Mohd Nawawi Abdul Rahman, KPDNKK Miri enforcement officer Joe Azmi Jamil and Nam Leong Supermarket Group owner Khor Whye Pheng.

According to Khor, the supermarket chain has over 20 branches nationwide, eight of which are in this division.