Wednesday, September 23

Move to extend festive price control scheme succeeds in preventing price hike


KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s move to add six more items in the list and extend the implementation of the Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme to 30 days from 15 days previously have succeeded in preventing sudden and steep hike in the price of consumer goods after Hari Raya Aidilfitiri.

Bernama checks at wet markets and hypermarkets in several states found that consumers were satisfied with the price and described the situation as much better that the previous year.

Most of them also agreed that the prices of controlled items such as standard chicken, fish and vegetables were less burdening even though there was a slight increase, especially in the price of red chilies.

In Johor Bahru, standard chicken is still sold at the price of RM7.50 per kg as set by the government, while ikan selar is sold between RM8 and RM9 per kg depending on the size.

Chicken seller, Samsul Jalil, 45, said the ceiling prices of the controlled items set by the government this year were reasonable and satisfactory, both to the sellers and the buyers.

“Alhamdulillah, the controlled price of RM7.50 per kg of standard chicken set by the government this year is much better and not so burdening compared to previous years. I have not received any complaint of price hike from the customers,” he said.

Last month, the government announced that the scheme launched in conjunction with Aidilfitri this year would be extended to 30 days from the normal 15 days, starting May 21.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said this year’s scheme also involved six additional items, bringing the total to 27 items from only 21 items previously.

The additional items include fresh and frozen kembung fish, selar fish and selayang fish, as well as long beans, groundnuts and dried chilli.

In Butterworth, most of the consumers met at the wet market expressed gratitude for the move taken by the government to prevent traders from increasing the price at their whims and fancy once the festive season was over.

“Normally, during festive season, there will be issues of price hikes, but it was less obvious this year.

But, as consumers, we have to know our power and continue checking the prices and making comparisons,” said housewife Rahmah Hussain, 63.

In Kuching, Bernama check at Medan Niaga Satok found that only the price of red chilli and green lime had experienced an increase due to shortage of supply, while the price of fish, chicken and beef remained unchanged, or even lower compared to the price in the peninsula.

Chicken seller, Faridah Morshidi, 43, said even though the supply of chicken had slightly declined after the festive season, the price of standard chicken remained at RM9.20 per kg.

In Kuala Terengganu, several essential goods sold at the Payang Market, Batu Enam Market and Mydin Hypermarket were reported to have been sold at lower prices.

Instead, standard chicken which has been sold at the price of RM8.50 per kg during the month of Ramadan is being sold only at RM6.50 pr kg today.

The situation, however, differed in Melaka as most consumers and sellers, especially retailers and restaurant operators, called for the authorities to tighten the monitoring and enforcement of the price control scheme as the prices of essential items were said to have increased after Aidilfitri.

A housewife, Siti Masturah Abdul Wahab, 42, said the prices of fresh fish, red chili, vegetables had subtly been on the rise since the final week of Ramadan and should be given extra attention by the authorities.

For Ibrahim Awaluddin, 73, the increased price of fresh items at the Historical City Wholesale Market in Batu Berendam caused him to make less purchase of the fish and vegetable to be sold at his sundry shop.

“I can only purchase 1 kg of red chili as it very costly now and priced at RM23 per kg, how will I sell it to the villagers? I cannot sell it for RM1 each,” he chided.

In Seremban, most consumers met by Bernama were satisfied with the price of goods, which they described as stable and that they could still purchase those essential items at reasonable prices compared to previous festive seasons.

State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs director Ain Arjuna Aziz Zaman said they had not received any compaint about market price hikes.

“The supply of consumer goods in Negeri Sembilan in adequate and most of the goods were sold below the gazetted ceiling price,” she added. — Bernama