By Tony Pua, Member of Parliament, Petaling Jaya Utara
Pakatan Rakyat MPs are the real heroes fighting for the interest of Malays and poor Malaysians by exposing the substandard and illegal products being peddled by BN Ministers as “cheap” and “quality” products comparable to branded goods
Pakatan Rakyat members of parliament have over the past 2 weeks exposed the fact that many of the goods sold in Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) were not only substandard, illegal and unhealthy, many of these products were also not cheaper than products sold in existing hypermarkets.
We were criticised by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Ismail Sabri as being unfair by not comparing “apple to apple”, that is we should not be comparing 1Malaysia products with house-branded products from Tesco, Giant or Carrefour.
However, we have proven that the comparison was indeed not “apple to apple” for products such as the “oyster sauce” because the sauce from Tesco contained real oyster extracts, the 1Malaysia product had only flavouring and no oysters.
At the same time, the comparison of 1Malaysia milk powder with that of Nestlé’s Nespray 1+ demonstrated not only that the former is a far inferior product but also the fact that the latter was 24% cheaper.
The 1Malaysia milk powder was short of at least 15 legally required vitamins and minerals, deficient in calcium and iron and provided a 802% overdose of Vitamin A, putting at real risk our very young children.
Instead of facing up to the problems, Ismail Sabri has chosen to go on an inflammatory rant calling Pakatan Rakyat MPs, DAP and myself racists for allegedly being anti-Malay in our exposés.
Ismail Sabri said on his Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday 15th November 2011 that:
“tony phua DAP ni masih tk habis2 menfitnah KRIM. kini dgn tuduhan tdk berkualiti. semlm isu ini tlh dijwb oleh Mydin & pembekal IKS. jelas agenda DAP yg ingin menguburkan KRIM yg rata2 supplier nya terdiri dari IKS bumiputra. Rata2 pembeli nya terdiri dari gol berpendapatan rendah bumiputra. Mydin pun bumiputra. malangnya ada bumiputra spt nurul izah & zulkifli ‘menyalak’ bagi pihak DAP..”
The racist accusations made by the Minister is not only completely baseless, it is the complete opposite of what the Pakatan Rakyat MPs are trying to achieve.
By exposing the list of poor quality and illegal products which do not meet the minimum legal standards set out in the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985, it is Pakatan Rakyat that is truly fighting for the interest of the mostly Malay consumers at KR1M as well as other poor Malaysians.
If not for our exposés, many Malays and poor Malaysians will still be consuming poor quality oyster sauce, evaporated millk, ice-cream, sardines and fruit jam sold at KR1M. What is worse, if not for Pakatan Rakyat highlighting the shocking deficiencies of the 1Malaysia children’s milk powder which resulted in the product’s withdrawal yesterday, a whole generation of Malay and poor Malaysian children might end up suffering from malnutrition, disease and poor physical development.
It is the BN Ministers like Ismail Sabri who are more than willing to sacrifice the interest of ordinary Malays and Malaysians by giving unsubstantiated “guarantees” on the quality of KR1M products and pander to the monetary and vested interest of certain businessmen.
The fact that Ismail Sabri’s ministry is going to subsidize the KR1M stores to the tune of RM40 million in 2012 to sell some of these products to ordinary Malaysians without first ensuring strict quality control over the products shows that BN Ministers are only keen to score political goals with KR1M.
They are not at all interested in the welfare of Malaysians, especially the Malays, who will suffer the most.