Salahuddin Ayub floats idea of tax breaks for tycoons who fund ‘affordable hypermarts’

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said he would raise in Cabinet his proposal to compensate billionaires who help pay for “affordable hypermarkets” catering to low-income earners.

Salahuddin, who previously floated the idea while debating Budget 2023, said the concept was still in its infancy and must be further developed, but suggested that giving the billionaires tax breaks in their other businesses as one option.

“Let me discuss first with the officers in the ministry and relevant stakeholders; if everyone agrees, I will bring the matter to the Cabinet to consider every ministers’ opinion on the matter,” he told Malay Mail.

He also said the resulting hypermarket need not be one that was entirely new or independent, noting that there were already several supermarket and hypermarket operators that could branch out into the category.

The minister said the main point was to provide options to consumers.

“For example, we have Econsave, if it wants to have a hypermarket designed for B40, why not?” he said, referring to the bottom 40th per centile of income earners.

According to the minister, the idea was that these “affordable hypermarkets” would offer basic goods and essentials at up to 30 per cent less than the typical market price, specifically to cater to the low-income population.

As for an online version, Salahuddin said e-commerce firm Shopee has launched “Jualan Rahmah Shopee” offering various types of basic necessities with up to 40 per cent discount.

On March 7, Salahuddin proposed that the government create a hypermarket to sell good at affordable prices, saying it could engage the private sector for the project as a form of corporate social responsibility.

Since forming the government after the 15th general election, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged his ministers to prioritise cost of living issues in the country.

Answering the prime minister’s call, Salahuddin launched the “Menu Rahmah” initiative for the private sector to offer balanced meals for no more than RM5 each — without any government subsidy — as a short-term measure to ease the financial burden of Malaysians.

Apart from Menu Rahmah, Jualan Rahmah is another initiative by Salahuddin’s ministry to offer basic essential goods at a discounted price. Current participants of the initiative include Mydin, Speedmart 99, KK Mart and Aeon Big.