GEORGE TOWN: Prices of essential items for Ponggal and Thaipusam have escalated, thus becoming an additional burden for the Indian community.
Penang Hindu Association deputy president P. Murugiah said many devotees were struggling to prepare for the two celebrations, given that electricity tariff and sugar prices had also gone up.
“Several items like parboiled rice, milk powder, fresh milk, ghee, dhall, urad dhal (ulunthu), condensed milk, tamarind, dried chillies, payasam ingredients and clay pots have increased between 6% to 62%.
“These items are necessary for Ponggal and Thaipusam,” he said .
Murugiah said the price of a 450ml bottle of milk previously cost RM3, but it had gone up to RM3.40 this year.
“The price of a RM26 tin of ghee has increased by RM7.“Milk powder sees a 62.4% hike, from RM12 to RM19.50,” he added.
He said the survey was carried out by the association at the Little India in Penang.
“Some traders also told me that there is a shortage of cooking oil, fresh coconuts and fresh flowers for the festivals this year.
“Most Hindus are facing financial constraint as the festivals are just around the corner, and they now need to spend extra on the items.”