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UUM ONLINE: The Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism, Datuk Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, stressed that the government, in general, and his ministry, in particular, were deeply committed to alleviating hardship among the people of the nation.

He said that various initiatives had been undertaken to help reduce the cost of living of the citizenry, such as the granting of subsidies and the retailing of lower-priced 1Malaysia Cooperative products, 1Malaysia Products, and 1Malaysia People’s Menu, among others.

He said that the latest in this train of initiatives was the soon-to-be-introduced Student Discount Card, which would help reduce the living expenses of approximately 1.4 million final year students (in the first phase of its implementation) at institutions of higher learning and Community Colleges in the country.

“This card was proposed by the students themselves through the National Student Representative Council, which was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister in November last year. The card will be launched by the Prime Minister in June this year,” he said.

He explained that, with the discount card, students would enjoy special price discounts on products from a wide range of companies participating in the programme. He said that the participating companies included optical stores, book and stationery shops, fast food restaurants, health clinics, beauty centres, and many others.

At the same event, the Honourable Minister also launched the Kedah state Student Consumer Movement (SCM). This represented another of the ministry’s many efforts to invigorate the process of knowledge acquisition and consciousness raising concerning consumerism among students at institutions of higher learning.

“I hope that SCM programmes will be more actively conducted by way of strategic collaboration with the other clubs and associations at institutions of higher learning as well as school consumer clubs. I also hope that the SCM programmes will enjoy moral and financial support from far more private companies via the Corporate Social Responsibility programme,” he said.

About 127 public and private institutions of higher learning, country wide, have set up SCMs, and this number is expected to increase in the wake of favourable feedback.

Apart from UUM, the other institutions of higher learning in Kedah that have set up SCMs include Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Merbok, the Darul Aman Teacher Education Institute (IPDA), the Sungai Petani Teacher Education Institute (IPSP), the MARA Skills Institute, Alor Setar, the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Polytechnic (POLIMAS), the Insaniah University College (KUIN), and the Kuala Nerang MARA College.

He explained that, to spur on the implementation of this SCM programme, his ministry had allocated monetary aid amounting to MYR3, 000 for each public and private institution of higher learning that had established a SCM.

Dato’ Sri Sabri Ismail said this in his speech during the opening of the UUM 2012 Career and Entrepreneurship Carnival, which was held together with those of the Kedah State Student Consumer Movement, and the 1Malaysia People’s Menu, at UUM, Sintok.

The UUM 2012 Career and Entrepreneurship Carnival, which began on 9 May 2012 at the Mu’adzam Shah Hall, involves the participation of various organisations under the theme of1Malaysia Career Transformation. It was initiated in an effort to furnish an opportunity for undergraduates and other students from around the region to obtain the latest information concerning the changing landscape of the world of work.

Also present at the event were the Member of the State Legislative Assembly for Bukit Kayu Hitam, Datuk Ahmad Zaini Japar; the Member of the State Legislative Assembly for Belantik, Datuk Mohamad Tajudin Abdullah; Member of the State Legislative Assembly for Guar Chempedak, Datuk Dr. Ku Abdul Rahman Ku Ismail; the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism, Datin Mahani Tan Abdullah; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student and Alumni Affairs), UUM, Datuk Dr. Abdul Faiz Hamid; and the Co-chairman of the State Consumer Movement, Azmi Che Hussain.

The Vice-Chancellor of UUM, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, said that the launch of the SCM was important because it would help in educating students about their rights as consumers and prevent them from being cheated by unscrupulous retailers.

“I believe that it is important for us to inculcate awareness among students at institutions of higher learning concerning the importance of understanding consumer rights so that they will become discerning consumers and utilise their rights to demand quality products at their commensurate prices,” he said.



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