PUTRAJAYA: Patrons of mamak restaurants will be glad to hear that they have not been overcharged for roti canai, teh tarik and other staples they enjoy at their favourite eateries.
Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said that a comparison of the prices for selected food items between April last year and this month, showed that members of the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) had made every effort possible to ensure their charges were reasonable.
Hamzah said he set up a meeting with Presma members yesterday over recent claims by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that mamak restaurants had overcharged their customers for roti canai and teh tarik.
At the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress’ (Kimma) annual general meeting on April 15, Tengku Adnan was reported to have said that even though the subsidies on sugar had been reduced by 34 sen per kilo, some of the restaurants raised the price of their cup of teh tarik by 50 sen.
“I don’t understand how this issue came about, including a statement made by my friend in the Cabinet.
“I held this discussion to verify that Presma members want to give reasonable prices to the rakyat,” Hamzah told a press conference at the ministry yesterday.
Presma president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said any food operator registered under the association, which represents 10,000 restaurants nationwide, found guilty of breaking the laws would be expelled the grouping.
“We have cooperated with the ministry for so long. They monitor our prices closely, and will know the second we increase our prices.
“We will be meeting Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan and several NGOs tomorrow (today),” he said.
Ayoob Khan also said the association would be introducing a discount card for people with disabilities, senior citizens and Malaysian students to help ease their financial burden.
In an interview before meeting Hamzah, Ayoob Khan said restaurateurs were struggling to cope with the rising cost of production and overheads.
“Prices have been rising incrementally for the past three years.
“The removal of subsidies for flour, sugar and cooking oil, and rising transportation fees have driven up prices. The declining Malaysian ringgit also makes imports more expensive.”
Checks by The Star at a nasi kandar restaurant in Petaling Jaya showed that a plate of white rice, chicken and fried vegetables cost RM7.30 without the Goods and Services Tax.
A piece of roti canai and a cup of teh tarik cost RM1.20 and RM1.80 respectively before tax.
At another restaurant, it cost RM8.90 and RM3.60 for the same two meals after GST.
Ayoob Khan said prices vary according to location due to rental of premises.
“Prices differ between urban neighbourhoods and rural areas. We can’t compare food charges in Rawang and Bukit Bintang,” he added.
On April 21, some 20 Indian Muslim groups, including Kimma and Presma, met to discuss the claims of overcharging, and asked that Tengku Adnan retract his statement.
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