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5 key steps to empower the roles of consumers.

THE Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry has underlined five key steps to empower the roles of consumers.
These are, price displays, consumer awareness programmers, the establishment of Consumer Clubs (Kelab Pengguna) at school and university level, cooperation with consumer-rights NGOs, as well as Skuad Pengguna.
Via the establishment of a price display mobile application, consumers can check on the latest prices of more than 100 items nationwide, and make price comparisons, as well as finding out the nearest store offering competitive prices, thus helping them plan their shopping better.
The app can be downloaded from the Google Playstore or via the 1Malaysia Smart Consumer portal at www.1pengguna.com.
In addition, numerous consumer awareness campaigns had been conducted, among them the Mesyuarat Majlis Gerakan Pengguna Kebangsaan (MGPK), National Consumer Day 2016 celebration, Best Consumer Movement Awards 2016, and the publication of the CIC Module Book.
These programmes bear a positive impact, as they are able to develop a ‘smart consumer’ society. They aim to boost the level of consumer awareness to 70 per cent and bring consumer empowerment to the next level by 2020.
School Consumer Clubs (KPS), established since 1992, serve as the heartbeat in moving consumer education at secondary school-level. It has now drawn the participation of 2,245 schools.
Throughout last year, numerous consumer education programmes involving students were implemented, focusing on four key aspects, which are consumerism, prudent spending, balanced diet and environmental conservation.
The Undergraduates Consumer Movement at tertiary level meanwhile is an entity formed to spearhead the nation’s aims of developing a rights-conscious, empowered consumer society, in line with the ministry’s vision.
The move of empowering consumers also involves the cooperation of NGOs, which play a huge role in helping educate the public in knowing and exercising their rights as consumers.
This is because NGOs wield a major influence in changing the perception of the public on issues related to consumer matters. To date, as many as 10 NGOs are working with the ministry in carrying out consumer-related activities and programmes, which include seminars, magazine publishing, consumer campaigns, mini expos, consumer competitions, and forums.
The final step is the formation of Friends of KPDNKK (FOK) which has recorded a membership strength of 385,217 as of Nov 18 last year. The Consumer Squad meanwhile, has almost 400,000 members nationwide.
Among the FOK’s functions include serving as the eyes and ears of KPDNKK especially on the issue of prices of goods, including compiling and distributing information on issues and consumer matters in Parliamentary districts. It also assists KPDNKK in conducting consumer activities at Parliament level, as well as guiding and aiding the public in lodging complaints on consumer matters to the ministry.
FOK members also automatically become Consumer Squad members and can enjoy many benefits including discounts at selected shopping outlets.

The Consumer Squad, previously known as Sukarelawan Pemantau Harga Rakan Pengguna, was rebranded in 2012, playing a role in reporting price trends and consumer issues, disseminating consumer information to the public, and acting as a catalyst towards developing smart consumers who are also environmentally-conscious

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