PETALING JAYA: The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has 2,266 enforcement officers and over 1,000 price monitoring officers conducting inspections to check for price hikes of basic necessities, says Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
He said that his ministry has been taking the issue seriously and has implemented various efforts since January to ensure that people are not burdened by price hikes.
"This includes various operations that have been and are being implemented based on the authority that has been given through the Price Control and Anti -Profit Control Act 2011, Trade Descriptions Act 2011, Control of Supply Act 1961 and the Consumer Protection Act 1999, ” he said.
He added in a statement on Sunday (April 18) that his ministry has taken action against traders who have unethically raised the price of goods without complying with the relevant laws.
On the recent hike in the price of chicken, he said the ministry has implemented Ops Catut 8.0 (Chicken) since Thursday (April 15) and found that the prices of food for livestock - which consist mostly of soybeans and corn imported from Argentina and Brazil - have increased.
"This has affected chicken prices in the supply chain from the farm level to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Until Friday (April 16), 24 notices were issued to wholesalers, 16 notices to breeders suspected of profiteering," he said.
The ministry said it has also implemented Ops Pantau from Tuesday (April 13) to monitor Ramadan and Hari Raya bazaars, Hari Raya public markets, wet markets, hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini markets and grocery stores, especially towards traders selling chicken, meat and fish.
"As of Friday, a total of 5,768 premises have been inspected nationwide with 27 cases recorded for various offences," he said.
The ministry said it has also implemented Ops Suri from Jan 1 to monitor price tagging and prevent profiteering, including from poultry, meat, fish and vegetable traders.
He added that under Ops Pasar, which ran from Jan 12 to March 17, the prices of vegetables, meat and chicken were monitored at all levels of the supply chain from retailers to suppliers where 1,149 notices were issued to traders suspected of profiteering.
He added that the ministry has received 15 complaints related to chicken prices, 15 related to fish prices, two complaints regarding vegetables and one about meat prices since the start of Ramadan.
"There were no complaints received regarding shortages supply on all of the items," it said.
On allegations on Facebook about the high prices of fish, chicken and meat displayed at the ministry's PriceCatcher application, he clarified that the allegation was misleading as it only highlighted the price of the items at up-market premises around Bukit Bintang.
"A check found that there were other premises in the area nearby which sell the three items in question at a cheaper price than stated in the Facebook post, ” he said.
Alexander added that prices displayed on the minitry's PriceCatcher mobile application are sorted by premises and location, as well as from the lowest to highest price.
"It aims to make it easier for users to compare prices offered by all premises closest to the location of the user. This will help the users to plan their spending more wisely," he said.
The ministry encouraged the public to channel any information related to traders misconduct to the ministry's e-aduan portal, call centre (1-800-886-800), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ez ADU KPDNHEP, the Enforcement Command Centre (03-8882 6088/6245) or via Whatsapp at 019-2794317.