KUALA LUMPUR: The increase in the price of Indian onions in the market are due to floods in India, causing shortages in supply, the Dewan Rakyat was told.
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid said consumers should opt for other options such as onions from China, Thailand and Myanmar.
"We admit there was a hike in prices for Indian onions, where at one point, it went up to RM13 to RM18 per kg.
"We know Malaysians love Indian onions and coincidently, India is now experiencing floods.
"So the supply is less. When there is less supply but a high demand, prices will definitely go up," he said in his winding-up speech for the Budget 2021 at the committee stage.
Consumer groups have voiced concerns over the sharp increase in the price of red onions following an export ban on the items in India due to the country's floods.
Rosol said as an alternative, consumers should purchase onions from other countries.
Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PH-Pokok Sena) interjected, saying that the ministry should do more to provide alternatives in the market especially in rural areas.
"The question now is the only onions available in the market are Indian onions.
"There are no other options at sundry shops.
"How can the people in the kampung and rural areas such as Pokok Sena make a choice when they only have one option?
"The ministry must put in place a mechanism to control expensive items in the market," he said.
On enforcement activities, Rosol said the ministry had conducted a total of 2,300 inspections at business premises nationwide to ensure prices would not go up especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We know that the public is now burdened and many are jobless.
"As the people are suffering, we will make sure prices of items will not go up," he said.