Mixed reaction from students over fixed meal price

KUALA LUMPUR: Varsity students have been doing their best to cope with the rising prices of food, and they are hoping the Menu Siswa Keluarga Malaysia initiative will alleviate their burden.

They told the New Straits Times that efforts to offer cheaper varieties of set meals was nothing new as some varsity cafeterias had economy meals consisting of rice with simple dishes.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) student, Farah Wahida Zamri, 25, said the initiative would greatly help students who are on loan like her.

"I only eat once a day and usually spend about RM6 on basic mixed rice, with only omelette and some vegetables. If the cafeterias are closed, I would spend more to arrange for food delivery.

"Menu Siswa Keluarga Malaysia will definitely help those who are fully-dependent on student loans. We could at least have meals within our own budget and not have to worry about spending more," she said.

Another student, Didi Zulkarnain, 23, however, said the initiative was still not clear. She claimed some cafeterias at varsities have still not set a fixed price for the economy meal package for students.

"Although we have been alerted about the announcement, some of us still pay the normal prices.

"However, some cafeterias have been offering economic menu packages, but one would only get dishes such as eggs, plain gravy and vegetables to go with the rice.

"I am not sure how to gauge this new initiative," said Didi, adding she felt there might not be much difference with the new menu as compared to the old meal packages.

She urged the university administration to monitor the situation.

A final year student from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Ifah Khairil, 23, said he hoped the new menu prices would ease the burden faced by students.

"We have not heard any announcement about a new menu at my university, but I am sure we can expect more affordable meals from now on.

"The rising cost of living is hard on us. Students are struggling to make ends meet just to complete our education," he said.

Several higher learning institutions have begun to offer economy meals as low as RM3.50 to help ease the students' cost of living, especially those from the B40 group.

Among the varsities which have implemented the move are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

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