Johor Sultan plans tie-up offering 'cheaper' products

JOHOR BARU • Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar plans to team up with a major retailer to sell goods at prices lower than the market rate in the Malaysian state.

Making the announcement on Facebook on Thursday, the ruler, who is on a private trip in the Middle East, said he is planning to have a "strategic cooperation" with a hypermarket.

He said the hypermarket has given its "guarantee" that it will be able to price its items at a rate that is 10 per cent lower than others. At the same time, the hypermarket assured him that the items sold will be of high quality. "This will enable the people, especially those from the lower-income group, to get their daily basic necessities at a cheaper price," Sultan Ibrahim was quoted as saying by the Royal Press Office.

He did not name the hypermarket but said more information on the matter will be announced soon.

The proposal was lauded by Johor residents. "We are proud to be Johorians (and for) having a kind-hearted Sultan who is concerned with the welfare of the people," wrote Ms Frances Lee on the ruler's Facebook page.

The 10-month-old Pakatan Harapan government is facing public anger as it has failed to rein in household costs despite removing the unpopular 6 per cent goods and services tax and replacing it with a narrower sales and services tax.

Last April, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim spent RM1 million (S$332,000) paying for other people's groceries at the Aeon Tebrau store in Johor Baru.

Pandemonium ensued as shoppers rushed to fill their trolleys after the Crown Prince offered to foot the grocery bill for every shopper there, to the tune of RM3,000 each.

The store was forced to bring down its shutters after being overwhelmed by crowds as news of the prince's largesse spread. It later embarked on a massive clean-up and replenishing exercise.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Johor Sultan plans tie-up offering 'cheaper' products'. Subscribe