The 1Malaysia Privilege Card promises discounts and wise spending habits
DISCOUNTING consumer goods can make for huge savings in household expenditure. Indeed, one of the world's biggest and most successful companies, Walmart, has built not just a business but a legend out of it. In Malaysia, the government is enlisting some notable brands, including Mydin, KFC and BHP, among the 20 which have signed up, to cut prices for specific groups accorded discount cards. The 1Malaysia Privilege Card (1MPC), launched this week by the prime minister, will at first go out to members of the armed forces and the police. It will then be extended to include retired members of the armed forces and the police. They are deemed the most deserving to start the programme because of their contributions to the country's security. But, as announced, all civil servants are likely beneficiaries of the privilege.
The brainchild of Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, this discount card must surely reflect the concerns closest to his heart. Under the 1Malaysia banner, several programmes are ongoing such as Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KRIM), Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia and Klinik 1Malaysia. Intended to alleviate the rising cost of living faced by low-income Malaysians, the 1MPC extends this objective in a more comprehensive way. It enables the cardholder to shop prudently and this can be optimised if he registers as the card's portal user where discount items are advertised. In short, not only will the discount card make life more affordable, it will also modernise the living skills of consumers as price comparisons become an integral part of the shopping culture. The government is doing a Walmart, whose high-pressure tactics at shaving costs and achieving economies of scale have sometimes been criticised, in the nicest possible fashion.
The benefit is now promised to the entire country. After all, private sector employees are just as much affected by the increase in the cost of living. Students are already part of the privileged group. The 1Malaysia Student Discount Card is serving to make student life thriftier and more comfortable. Because private sector discount cards do serve to increase purchasing power, they are often sold on an annual fee basis. The 1MPC, however, is free of charge and is given out automatically to those who qualify, in this instance, members of the armed forces and the police. It is a matter of time before each adult citizen will receive the privilege of accessing the portal for discounts online. The faster Malaysians take to the 1MPC, the better. For, a consolidated, busy and active Malaysian online experience will attract many more merchants making for a more complete list.