SIBU: The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) have nabbed several individuals for ‘doctoring’ a supplier’s invoice in order to sell gas cylinders at an exorbitant price.
Its state director Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman revealed yesterday that enforcement officers in its Miri office discovered that the culprits were actually employees of the distributor.
An investigation was initiated immediately after members of the public complained that they were charged more than RM200 per gas cylinder.
“There is a hanky-panky element involved in this case. At that price, it can be burdensome to people, as it is way too expensive.
“Even though gas cylinders are not controlled items, when the hike is about 100 per cent, it is deemed as unreasonable,” Wan Uzir told The Borneo Post.
He cautioned that action could be taken under the Anti-Profiteering Act 2010 if traders priced their goods unreasonably.
Wan Uzir was asked to shed light into allegations that some traders had jacked up the price of gas cylinders to more than RM200 in Miri.
A national English daily had reported last week that unscrupulous traders had fleeced the poor and low-income group in Miri when there was a shortage of cooking gas cylinders.
Wan Uzir said, “Even if there is a shortage, businesses should not hike prices of gas cylinders at their whims and fancies.”
Meanwhile, the ministry’s Miri branch chief Zakaria Awang disclosed that the distributor had taken stern actions against the workers concerned.
The workers involved were those ferrying gas cylinders from door-to-door.
Zakaria reminded consumers to jot down the vehicle plate number of those who supply them the cylinders in future before lodging their complaints.
“We consider this case as closed and there are no more such cases here (Miri). As for the affected consumers, we advise them to come to our office with their receipts so that we can liaise with the distributor pertaining to arrangements for the refund,” he advised.
Zakaria noted that in emergency cases, where a consumer requested for the sending of a gas cylinder late at night, the trader might impose some charges.
Wan Uzir, on the other hand, also reminded consumers to always insist on receipts for any purchase.
“Otherwise, if they lodge a complaint at our office, it is difficult for us to take action merely based on verbal evidence,” he explained.