JOHOR BARU: The government’s decision to restrict the movement of people until March 31 caused another wave of panic buying among locals and foreigners.
People rushed to stock up on essential items, mainly household products, because of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak.
For factory worker S. Radha, 42, the decision to stock up was because of the rising number of those infected with Covid-19.
“I have elderly parents at home and I want to stock up so that I do not need to go out and meet people daily.
“I am making sure my parents, who are in their late 60s, do not leave the house, ” she said, adding that she cooked for her family every day before leaving for work in Ulu Tiram.
For housewife Nooraizian Othman, 49, this was her third visit to the supermarket to stock up on groceries.
“I am only buying food supplies such as rice, cooking oil and milk, ” she said, adding that many people seemed to be fearful because of some of the news spread on social media.
She added that some of the fake news even asked the public not to follow government calls, saying it was only designed to calm the public into not doing anything while Singaporeans come here to clear out shelves of items.
Sharing the same view was private sector worker Norrizal Abd Hamid, 49, who said he had experienced shopping across the border.
“Daily supplies such as toilet paper and tissues are out of stock at most shopping centres, so they come here and buy as many items as they can because it’s cheap for them.
“The panic shopping is not only taking place in Johor Baru, but also in Shah Alam where my friends and family are doing the same thing in case the government decides to issue a lockdown, ” he said.
He added that he bought over 30kg of rice, flour, cooking oil, soaps and detergents.
“I have never shopped like this in my life, ” he said, adding that he did not want to be caught off-guard especially since other people were stocking up.
Another housewife, V. Sumanthi, 41, said she only bought daily necessities such as biscuits and instant noodles as she had already purchased other items over a week ago.
“My house is close to a supermarket so I just buy items that we use on a daily basis.
“I believe the cause of panic buying is fake news people are getting every day and the problem is fake news spreads faster than clarification by the authorities, so I think something must be done to stop this, ” she said, adding that she relied on The Star for updates on Covid-19.
A check by Metro South & East with a few supermarkets in Pasir Gudang such as Tesco Seri Alam, Giant Plentong and Maslee Taman Cendana revealed that there were a few foreign-registered vehicles hauling groceries in bulk.
Econsave Cash & Carry Sdn Bhd (Econsave) general manager Mas Imran Adam said to date, only the sales of toilet paper had increased while the rest remained unchanged.
“The main item in short supply is actually facemasks and the high demand has pushed the import tax of such items to go up while the government-regulated price for the items have remained unchanged.
“So companies are not importing the items as it would hurt their cash flow, so the government should look into this matter immediately, ” he said.
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