Menu Rahmah not just meals for ‘poor people’, says Salahuddin
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub today rejected the view that meals offered under the Menu Rahmah scheme were only fit for “poor people”.
He said the food sold as part of the Menu Rahmah were meant to be enjoyed by Malaysians from all walks of life.
“The Menu Rahmah that is RM5 is something big for the rakyat, it’s a premium serving.
“As the minister, in my engagement with the businesses, I wouldn’t have the heart to allow them to prepare ‘low class’ menu, with watered-down gravy and some say bad quality rice or fish and chicken that has no quality.
“I am willing to accept the menu, and be responsible for the ministry. I have visited locations with Menu Rahmah such as Nasi Kandar Kaya, there were 30 types of dishes whereby they supported the initiative by allocating a small portion for the Menu Rahmah.
“We also did not name the menu B40 menu because everyone can enjoy it, it is not a poor people’s meal, it’s food for all,” Salahuddin said in his winding up speech on the royal address.
B40 technically refers to the bottom 40th percentile of income earners in the country.
Salahuddin launched the Menu Rahmah programme on January 31 as part of the unity government’s short-term efforts to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis on low-income earners.
The programme involves private firms offering balanced meals and a drink for no more than RM5, all without government funding or subsidies.
The scheme encountered controversy when a PAS MP, Dr Halimah Ali, appeared to suggest that the food offered could be of such low quality that it could expose consumers to cancer, autoimmune disease and autism.
The PAS MP has denied she was making such claims about the Menu Rahmah programme, and challenged critics to refer to the Hansard for what she said.
One of those who did so, PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP and Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, said the meaning of her remarks were “clear”.
According to the official parliamentary transcript, Dr Halimah said as follows: “I have no problem with the term ‘Rahmah’ but don’t let it come to the point that commoners, the B40, are supplied with low-quality food and which may expose them to cancer, autoimmune disease, to autism, and more.”
Today, Salahuddin said the Menu Rahmah would also help M40 (middle 40th percentile of income earners) who were stretching their finances.
“We introduced this and we saw much support from the rakyat, and many more have come forward to support the initiative including fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and most recently Old Town White Coffee, and all the highway rest stops will serve the Menu Rahmah,” he said.
On a related note, he said that the Jualan Rahmah scheme has also been well-received among consumers and businesses.
“Econsave last week released a statement indicating that their sales have increased by 30 per cent after introducing the Jualan Rahmah,” Salahuddin added.
Jualan Rahmah is another initiative by Salahuddin’s ministry, which offers basic essential goods at a discounted price. Current participants of the initiative include Mydin, Speedmart 99, KK Mart and Aeon Big.
The minister then suggested that the Menu Rahmah be brought the Parliament building one day as a treat for all Parliament staff and let them experience the initiative for themselves.