PUTRAJAYA: The government has banned exports of face masks effective March 18, says the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, who announced this, said the government was also allowing imports of the product to ensure sufficient supply.
However, the price of the three-ply face mask will now cost RM2 instead of 80 sen per piece.
Linggi said the price of face masks needed to be increased due to higher cost of production materials.
"By allowing face masks to be sold at RM2, we hope to encourage local manufacturers to produce more.
"For exporters, this price will help cover the costs to bring the product into the market.
"With this, we hope to increase the availability of face masks," he said after jointly chairing a meeting with Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datul Ronald Kiandee to discuss with stakeholders in the food production and retail industries.
Kiandee said that food producers had raised some issues which he would bring up with the National Security Council.
He said, for instance, while chicken and egg production was considered essential, farmers needed its support sector to also be in business during the movement control order.
"For now, stakeholders say they are able to meet market demand, so there is no need for consumers to panic buy," he said.