BETONG: It is the responsibility of all, from longhouse chiefs to elected representatives, to ensure that subsidised goods are sold at the approved prices and are always available especially in rural areas, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad.
He said transportation and handling costs by a number of middlemen added up to the overall costs when the commodities reached such areas.
a�?The government is determine to stop this.
We have identified the mechanisms and approaches to reduce the roles of middlemen.
a�?This means that the target group or those in rural areas can buy the essential items at the subsidised prices as in cities and towns.
a�? He was speaking at the launch of the state-leg of the subsidised necessities pioneer distribution project at the compound of a longhouse, Rh.
Thomas Lamit, in Sungai Berangan, Sebatan in Saratok and later in Kabong town near here yesterday.
a�?The Saratok and Kabong projects will be carried out for a year and if proven successful, will be the yardstick for other nationwide projects,a�? he said.
He said the subsidised items included the SST 15 rice, sugar, cooking oil, general usage flour and in the case of Sarawak, liquified natural gas.
Shahrir said his ministry was in the process of determining the right number of depots to sell petrol at the government ceiling price and their locations in the state.
a�?There have been an earlier proposal for 109 stations but now we have issued licences for seven floating stations as well.
We may have to review or reduce the number,a�? he said.