Lots of shopping, but no panic buying

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Shops and mini markets in Bandar Perda here were bustling with shoppers but there was no panic buying despite the possibility of a stricter MCO being enforced soon.

Neither was there any rush for haircuts.

“My mini market and the other shops here get many customers during the weekends, but I don’t see any panic buying, unlike the first round of the MCO last March, ” said mini market owner Neoh Chee Leong, 65.

It was business as usual at his shop despite speculation of a more stringent MCO being imposed.

Neoh, who has been in the business for 17 years, said most people had learned their lesson from the first MCO and now would only buy things that they needed the most.

On the prospects of another full-blown MCO, Neoh said he felt this was unavoidable as Covid-19 cases had been increasing dramatically.

“What I hope is if the government wants to impose a lockdown, it should not be a total lockdown as it will affect the people and the economy, ” he said.

Housewife Zakiah Zulkifli, 33, said she was out for her weekly grocery shopping and not buying out of fear.

“Every week, I will stock up on groceries. I am sure there will be enough supplies for buyers even if we face another MCO, ” she said.

Another shopper, Abdul Jabar Mohd Ismail, 57, also did not feel the need to stock up on essentials.

“Even if the government imposes an MCO again, I don’t think we will have a shortage of essential items, ” he said, adding that consumers must spend wisely instead of panicking.

The situation was similar at barbershops, with no sign of people rushing to get a trim.

Mubarak Ibrahim, 47, who runs a barbershop at Bandar Perda, said when speculation started about the MCO being re-imposed, only a few of his customers called him to make an appointment.

He hopes to be still allowed to run his shop even if a new round is enforced, adding that he could not afford to close again as he suffered badly during the initial MCO last year.

A salon manager, Vincent Heah, 28, voiced his concerns about business being affected.

“If another MCO cannot be avoided, the government could impose a stricter SOP on businesses but let us stay open. We will duly follow the SOP, ” he said.

He said measures such as closing the state border to control the movement of people can be implemented instead of a total lockdown.In Melaka, there is no report of a shortage of cooking oil due to panic buying by the public in anticipation of a full-fledged MCO, said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Checks at retail stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets nationwide showed no supply shortage, said Deputy Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid.

“My enforcement officers are constantly monitoring the availability of cooking oil and other essential items throughout the state, especially at flood affected states to ensure there is no shortage, ” he said in a statement.

Rosol said consumers should alert the ministry’s office in their state if they were unable to buy cooking oil.

“Complainants should include tangible evidence, ” he added.

Rosol was earlier asked to comment on the alleged shortage of cooking oil in Melaka.

Locals complained that some were allowed to buy two to three 1.5kg and 5kg bottles of cooking oil at one time due to panic buying.

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