‘Avoid eateries that hike prices excessively’

Md Salleh says some eateries had increased food prices following the May 1 announcement of salary hike for civil servants. — ZAZALI MUSA/The Star

CONSUMERS have been advised to be more selective when eating out in view of escalating prices of food in recent months.

Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo said consumerism awareness among Malaysians was still low.

“Lack of interest or concern is the reason why consumers are easily targeted by unscrupulous traders,” he said.

Md Salleh said traders were taking advantage of the situation, knowing that consumers would complain before eventually accepting the price increases.

He urged Malaysian consumers to start taking matters seriously including boycotting businesses and traders that engaged in excessive profiteering.

“If we can boycott companies and brands that are openly supporting Israel, we also can do the same against our local traders for excessive profiteering,” said Md Salleh.

He said this after complaints that certain eateries in Johor Baru had increased their prices following the May 1 announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of a salary hike for civil servants.

Civil servants will see a 13% salary increase from this December, involving an allocation over RM10bil. It will be tabled during the Budget 2025 announcement in October.

“I too was a victim of a price hike after the Prime Minister’s announcement,” said Md Salleh.

He said he had gone for lunch at a well-known asam pedas restaurant in Gelang Patah and ended up paying RM74.20 for two people.

Md Salleh said the bill was for two pieces of asam pedas ikan merah (red snapper), a small piece of omelette, mixed vegetables, two plates of rice and plain tea.

“We had a similar order at the same place in March and it only cost RM50,” he said.

He suggested that consumers cook at home to save money or choose eateries with reasonable prices.

Johor Bumiputra Consumer Association chairman Syed Abdullah Syed Mohamed said traders would increase their prices every time the government announced bonuses or salary increases for civil servants.

“It is expected as it has been going on for years,” he said.

Syed Abdullah said the price of a packet of basic nasi lemak with sambal and a small piece of omelette had increased.

“The same nasi lemak sold at a food outlet at Bandar Baru Uda was RM2 each before May 1 but on May 2, I paid RM5 for two or RM2.50 each,” he said.

Syed Abdullah said he expected another price increase this December once the new salary scheme for civil servants was implemented.

The authorities, he said, should take action against traders and food operators for increasing prices indiscriminately.

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