PUTRAJAYA – Price increases for essential goods in Johor, Perak, Kelantan, and Pahang have occurred following the monsoon season that hit the East Coast states resulting in fishermen not being able to go out to sea.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said other factors include extreme weather changes in major vegetable supply areas such as Cameron Highlands that have caused a decline in the quality and quantity of produce.
“Among the items that showed an increase in price were vegetables such as tomatoes and mustard. (However) the price of imported onions showed a price decrease,” he said in a statement, here, today.
Nanta said the ministry had inspected the premises of 258 retailers and suppliers through Ops Pasar 2021 (vegetables) on Jan 12 to 18 involving five types of vegetables, namely tomatoes, red chillies (minyak and kulai varieties), carrots and round cabbages.
“In monitoring price increase activities and any element of profiteering, a total of 246 show cause letters have been issued to traders,” he said.
Nanta said the ministry was also monitoring the selling price of cooking oil through inspections on 266 premises involving 2,289 cooking brands relating to 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottles.
To detect whether there was any monetary element in sales transactions conducted for goods inspected, a total of six show cause letters were issued to retailers, he said.
Nanta said the monitoring also found that there was a sufficient supply of 11 basic necessities — sugar, cooking oil, wheat flour, rice, white bread, milk powder, vegetables, chicken, eggs, onions and face masks.
The ministry will continue to monitor the supply and price of goods in the market under the Supply Control Act (AKB) 1961 and AKHAP 2011, especially during the Movement Control Order 2.0, to ensure there are no shortages of supply of essential goods and steep price increases, he said.
“Any trader who takes the opportunity to commit profiteering activities under AKHAP 2011 or any offence under AKB 1961 will face action in accordance with the law,” added Nanta.
Sufficient cooking oil supply
An inspection by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) meanwhile on retailers, wholesalers and subsidised cooking oil packers in Kedah and Kelantan found sufficient stock of the essential item.
Kedah Information, Communications and Multimedia, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Wan Romani Wan Salim said there was no issue of shortage of cooking oil because traders were still receiving supplies from suppliers as requested and there was no reduction in quantity.
“Traders have only informed that there was an increase in the purchase of 1kg packets of cooking oil,” he said in a statement in Kedah, today.
According to Wan Romani, an inspection of 21 cooking oil packaging companies in the state found that only two were not functioning while the rest were operating as usual.
“Hence, the issue of insufficient subsidised cooking oil in the state does not occur, but the ministry will continue to conduct daily monitoring and inspection to ensure each trader complies with rules set to meet consumer demand and needs in Kedah,” he said.
Kelantan KPDNHEP director Adnan Abd Rahman said daily inspections and monitoring were being conducted on retailers, wholesalers and even cooking oil packers throughout the state to ensure supply was always sufficient.
“Based on monitoring, the price of subsidised cooking oil for a one kg packet at a price controlled by the government is RM2.50. While the price of cooking oil in a five kg bottle is around RM24 to RM27,” he said in a statement in Kelantan.
Limited to three polybags
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) enforcement director, Azman Adam commenting on the issue of cooking oil said that retailers are allowed to impose a limit on the purchase of cooking oil in 1 kilogramme polybag to three units per transaction for each customer effective Jan 19.
He said the authorisation was to ensure more customers obtain the cooking oil which is subsidised by the government.
Cooking oil in 1kg polybag is a controlled item which is subsidised under the Cooking Oil Stabilisation Scheme (COSS).
“The authorisation is applicable to only 1kg polybag pack and should be sold at RM2.50 per kg,” said Azman in a statement today.
Azman said the government is committed to ensure a stable supply of 1 kg polybag subsidised cooking oil to ensure the people obtain cooking oil for household use at the stipulated price of RM2.50 per kg especially during the challenging situation of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said KPDNHEP is always monitoring the trading and distribution of the item in the country so that wholesale and retailing distribution is not affected, thus giving confidence to the people that the supply of the essential item is adequate in the market.
“The directive is also to ensure traders do not take advantage to manipulate the price and supply of the cooking oil during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.