Advertisement

Deputy minister: Rahmah Ramadan Bazaars to offer Menu Rahmah, to ease public financial burden amid SST hike

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — To alleviate public living cost challenges, the government will be mandating Ramadan bazaars to offer Menu Rahmah during the fasting month to provide financial relief to individuals and families alike.

Deputy Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN) Minister Fuziah Salleh said that her ministry will be pursuing “aggressive” moves to promote the said initiative, first implemented by former domestic trade and cost of living minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, who died in July last year.

Menu Rahmah is an initiative offering lunch or dinner sets at a recommended price of RM5. Each meal consists of rice, a choice of protein (such as chicken or fish), a serving of vegetables and a bottle of mineral water. Despite initial criticism, the programme was later met with encouraging response from consumers, even those from the middle-income category.

“For Menu Rahmah, we are also allocating some budget for promotion, which we will aggressively focus on, starting this Ramadan. We will prominently highlight Menu Rahmah in Ramadan bazaars, as all Rahmah Ramadan Bazaars throughout the country will have this menu. For a Ramadan bazaar to be classified as a Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar, it must offer Menu Rahmah.

“So, in the whole bazaar, there must be a certain percentage of traders who offer Menu Rahmah. We are not making it mandatory for every stall to offer, but what we are saying is that a certain portion or a certain percentage of the operators of the Ramadan bazaar need to offer Menu Rahmah,” Fuziah told Malay Mail in a recent interview, hours ahead of the Sales Tax and Service Tax (SST) hike, that took effect on March 1.

Muslims in Malaysia will begin fasting on March 12 this year.

Last month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced the details of its tax reforms, which included an increase in the sales and service tax (SST) from 6 per cent to 8 per cent effective March 1 this year and expected to generate an estimated additional RM3 billion in revenue.

In a statement, it said that the new rate only focuses on discretionary activities and business-to-business services and will therefore shield the public from paying higher consumption tax for key essential services such as food and beverages, telecommunications, parking and logistics.

“The opportunity will be there for us to highlight again about Menu Rahmah, since we are giving allocation from the budget to promote it.

“So hopefully, after this, we can continue to offer Menu Rahmah in night markets and so on. That is something we, as a ministry, must continue by engaging with (trade and restaurant) associations and continue to motivate them to also talk to their members,” Fuziah added.

Fuziah said that her ministry executed the Menu Rahmah initiative, despite having no dedicated budget for the initiative that falls under the bigger ‘Payung Rahmah’ programme. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Fuziah said that her ministry executed the Menu Rahmah initiative, despite having no dedicated budget for the initiative that falls under the bigger ‘Payung Rahmah’ programme. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Fuziah said that her ministry executed the Menu Rahmah initiative, despite having no dedicated budget for the initiative that falls under the bigger ‘Payung Rahmah’ programme. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Executed without any allocation

Fuziah said that her ministry executed the Menu Rahmah initiative, despite having no dedicated budget for the initiative that falls under the bigger ‘Payung Rahmah’ programme.

“The budget is actually for the whole of Payung Rahmah. There is no specific budget allocation for Menu Rahmah.

“What was allocated for, is ‘Jualan Rahmah’, which is over RM150 million. However, while there was some allocation to promote Menu Rahmah, there was not anything (to execute) Menu Rahmah per se. So that’s to clarify on the RM200 million. So it will mostly go towards Jualan Rahmah,” she said.

Jualan Rahmah is another programmme by KPDN that offers savings on daily necessities of up to 30 per cent cheaper than the regular local market price. It is a year-round low-price sales programme by large retailers and supermarkets in 2023. Under the programme, KPDN aims for price discounts of between 10 and 30 per cent for those in low-income areas throughout the country.

Fuziah said that Menu Rahmah was one of the speedy initiatives introduced by the ministry to tackle inflation rate.

“If you remember, in November 2022, when we took over the government, the inflation rate was high; it was about 4 per cent I think at that time, and the biggest contributor to the inflation rate were two categories. One is food outside the home and food consumed at home.

“So that was the one that pulled the inflation rate up actually.

“The first thing that we tackled was Menu Rahmah. The food outside the home. It is a private-driven initiative supported by the government. It became a hit because people found that they can buy something at RM5. We do not force restaurant owners. It is all on a voluntary basis and the thinking behind it, as they say, is to share the blessings,” she added.