AFTER the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented on April 1, the number of consumer complaints has increased by 30% in the country.
Recorded by Persatuan Perlindungan Pengguna Malaysia, its Perak branch president Shaferi Khairuddin said this is because consumers seem to be paying closer attention to the prices of things they are buying now.
“Currently, many are more aware of the different taxes, and they make sure to check their receipts after paying,
“This is to ensure that they are paying the right prices to avoid being cheated by unscrupulous businesses,” he said during the opening of the association’s new main office in Taman Klebang Utama, Chemor on May 23.
Shaferi also said it is important for all consumers to know that there are channels for them to voice out their grouses.
“If you encounter a situation where you feel the prices you are paying are unreasonable, you should seek an explanation instead of keeping quiet.
“Consumers can always contact the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) or seek help from non-governmental organisations,” he said.
Also present was KPDNKK Perak assistant director Arun Fazhillah Hamdan, who opened the new main office on behalf of state Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan.
In his speech, Arun spoke on the issue of price hikes in the country by relating with how other businesses in first-world nations perform.
“Many have been looking to first-world nations and questioning the reason they can afford to sell daily items at very low prices to the people, when compared with the current trend of price hikes in Malaysia.
“It is because the consumers there are playing their part by working with their government.
“For example, Tesco in the United Kingdom sells its goods at low prices because consumers need to self-check out their items and use the auto-pay system with their debit cards.
“This allows Tesco to cut down on operational costs. Instead of hiring 10 people like we have here in Malaysia to be cashiers, they only need a few workers over there,” he said.
Arun added that the role of consumers is not all about highlighting price differences in the market only.
“It is about having the right attitude and first-class mentality to be aware of what they can do to help businesses cut down their operational costs in return,” he said, using another example of McDonald’s outlets in Western countries, where consumers learn to clean up after eating instead of leaving their trays and trash around like Malaysians do.
Arun also urged consumers who lodge complaints online via the ministry’s e-aduan system to always fill in the forms with their personal details.
“Many a time, we need to ask for further information on their case and give them a status update.
“But they don’t add their contact number or address, so this greatly hinders our task in solving their complaints,” he said.