It was reported in The Star on Jan 3 that more than 10 million people will receive the 1Malaysia Privilege Card (KDR1M) which entitles them to discounts of between 10 and 50 percent at selected merchants nationwide. This was stated by the deputy information, communications and culture minister last Thursday.
Similarly KTMB had announced on Oct 20, 2012 (The Star) that it will open 20 counters in seven stations in the Klang Valley to enable eligible Malaysians to register for the 50 percent discount card. It is estimated that the number of cards will be in thousands as all having income below RM3,000 are eligible.
The higher education minister also announced on July 4, 2012 (The Star) the introduction of the special discount card for private and public university students, including those from teacher education institutes and industrial training institutes.
It was reported on Oct 16, 2012 (The Star) that the government is to extend the 1Malaysia discount card to overseas and part-time Malaysian students.
It is apparent that with the issue of the various types of discount cards that are now in tens of millions will cover almost the whole population of Malaysia. The whole objective of giving discounts could have been achieved by just declaring that the MyKad can be used to enjoy the discounts. This would have resulted in savings of tens of millions of ringgit on the making of the cards and the administrative costs associated with their issue.
It is noted that the cost of the cards issued by the government is to be borne by the taxpayers, whereas KTMB collects RM5 per card from the public for one year’s validity.
On the assumption that the number of cards to be issued are over 20 million and the cost per card is RM3, it is evident that some card makers would collect over RM30 million in revenue, whereas the actual cost of making each card is understood to be less than RM1 each.
The political leadership should disclose the cost of the card paid by the government if paid from taxpayers’ funds and the company(ies), with names of the owners, which were awarded the contract for the supply the cards and how the supplier was selected.
This would be in line with transparency and accountability, the values which are periodically voiced by the political leaders.