Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SHAHRIR: Trial runs for supply system

BANGI: Several trial runs will be carried out to help the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry find the best way to supply essential items at low cost to the public.

Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who said this, added that the first study would be in Seberang Prai Utara this month, and two more were planned for an urban and a rural location later on.

The direct distribution mechanism would be implemented nationwide by next year if the tests proved it to be effective, he told reporters after opening the Malaysian Consumer and Family Economics Association’s 12th national conference at Universiti Tenaga Nasional yesterday.

Shahrir said the results from the trial runs would enable the Government to find out the most efficient way to distribute price-controlled essential items and food supplies to the public, especially low-income consumers in the rural areas.

Among subsidised items that would be included in the study were ST15 Super Tempatan 15% broken rice, flour, cooking oil and bread, he said.

Shahrir said a bread company has been asked to help transport the items from the manufacturers to the shops.

“My theory is that the bread-distribution method is the most efficient supply system for both the urban and rural areas,” he added.

“If distribution costs can be reduced, consumers will be able to purchase subsidised goods at controlled prices, and have adequate supply.

“The new system will help address the problems of uneven supply and price fluctuation of such items, especially in the rural areas.”

On fuel prices, Shahrir welcomed a suggestion to implement a fortnightly review.

However, he said, the Government would allow the monthly review of the pump prices to go on first before implementing other measures.

“The monthly review is the first mechanism to keep up with price fluctuations in the oil market,” he said. “If we can resolve technical problems or fine-tune the system, maybe we may use the fortnightly system after that.”

Shahrir was commenting on the call by Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on Monday for a more frequent fuel price review.

CLICK HERE: Trial runs for supply system
Malaysia Star, Malaysia