By John Isaac
SARAWAK has been allocated more than half of the RM150 million for the nationwide implementation of the Price Standardisation Programme this year.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said the Price Standardisation Programme is implemented not only in the rural and interior areas of Sarawak, but also in Sabah, Kedah and Kelantan.
“The implementation involves allocation of RM150 million. A total RM83.2 million from these is allocated to Sarawak. And out of these, RM19.96 million is specifically for Hulu Rajang parliamentary area,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong (GPS – Hulu Rajang) during the Dewan Rakyat sitting in Kuala Lumpur today.
Nanta nonetheless noted the amount of allocation could not cover all the interior areas in Sarawak. Due to budget limitations, he said the Ministry is giving priority to inaccessible areas such as upriver areas and areas with limited or no infrastructure.
“Currently, the Price Standardisation Programme covers 451 areas in Sarawak. The Ministry will consider expanding the coverage of distribution areas in interior Sarawak based on allocation received,” he said as reported by Borneo Post.
Earlier, when answering Ugak’s original question, Nanta said the implementation of the Price Standardisation Programme since 2009 was meant to help residents in rural areas to enjoy essential items at prices similar to urban areas.
He explained that under this programme, the government absorbs the costs to transport the essential items to the points of sales.
Items covered under this programme include rice, coarse white sugar, 1kg bottle or packets of cooking oil, multi purpose wheat flour, LPG cylinders, Ron95 petrol and diesel.
He also revealed the government appointed 163 transporters this year to send and sell these items to the points of sales.
“A total 1.1 million people in 691 distribution areas in Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah and Kelantan have benefited from this programme.
“For example, those in Belaga used to buy LPG cylinders at RM55 previously. Now under this programme, they can buy the LPG cylinders at the controlled price of RM26 only. Based on our survey, many of the residents agree that this Programme has helped to reduce their cost of living,” he said.