KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has warned traders not to hoard essential goods listed as controlled items in the face of impending war in Iraq as they are not in short supply.
Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the ministry’s enforcement unit had been put on alert and would not hesitate to take action against profiteers under the Supplies Control Act.
“It is a serious offence to hoard essential controlled items,” he said yesterday at the post-Cabinet press conference at his ministry.
He said the ministry's contingency plans were to get assurance from wholesalers that supply was adequate and to act against errant traders quickly.
Muhyiddin said the ministry had acted to prevent prices of items from soaring and kept inflation at its lowest level during festivals through measures and mechanisms implemented by its enforcement unit.
Similar steps would be taken to check inflation should the need arise in the event of a war, he said.
“Whenever there is an increase in fuel prices and transportation fees, the chain reaction will always be an effect on the prices of staple items.
“If war breaks out and fuel prices go up, transportation companies will not be allowed to raise their charges indiscriminately,” he said.
Referring to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Muhyiddin said it went up by 1.6% in the first two months of the year, compared to the corresponding period last year.