PETALING JAYA: As restaurant owners and food operators feel the after effects of El Nino, some of them are calling on the Government to import more vegetables from neighbouring countries to temporarily stabilise prices.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said the authorities should consider importing greens from Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand so that the local industry would be spared the adverse effects of the price changes.
“We have received complaints that the prices are too high,” he said yesterday.
According to Ramalingam, the wholesale price of spinach had shot up to RM3.80 per kilo, red chillies to RM18 per kilo, and RM8 per kilo for long beans.
He said the restaurants had no choice but to absorb the cost as there would not be any increase to the food prices.
“If the authorities do not act on this, many may close shop when the operational cost gets too high,” he said.
Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association president Ho Su Mong said they were already hit by a vegetable shortage and other factors such as the Goods and Services Tax and the high cost of living.
“We will wait and see if we need to increase the prices of our food,” he said.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said although they were feeling the impact of the vegetable price hike, he felt that it was just temporary due to the weather.
Restaurants operators, he added, would not want to raise their prices and put off their customers.