On the lookout for price hikes

Under watch: Shoppers are seen at Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur as business resumes amid the pandemic. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Over 3,000 officers have been conducting checks on prices of basic necessities, says Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

They included 2,266 enforcement officers and over 1,000 price monitoring officers, he said.

He said they had been conducting operations to ensure the public was not burdened by price hikes.

This was done in accordance with laws such as the Price Control and Anti-Profit Control Act, Trade Descriptions Act, Control of Supply Act and the Consumer Protection Act.In a statement yesterday, he said his ministry had taken action against traders who had unethically raised the price of goods.

On the hike in chicken prices, Alexander said the ministry had implemented Ops Catut 8.0 (Chicken) on April 15 and found that the prices of food for livestock – which consist mostly of soybeans and corn imported from Argentina and Brazil – had increased.

“This affected chicken prices in the supply chain from the farm level to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. As of April 16,24 notices were issued to wholesalers and 16 notices to breeders suspected of profiteering, ” he said.

The ministry said it also implemented Ops Pantau on April 13 to monitor Ramadan and Hari Raya bazaars, Hari Raya public markets, wet markets, hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini markets and grocery stores, especially traders selling chicken, meat and fish.

“As of April 16,5, 768 premises have been inspected nationwide with 27 cases recorded for various offences, ” Alexander said.

The ministry said it also implemented Ops Suri on Jan 1 to monitor price tagging and prevent profiteering, including from poultry, meat, fish and vegetable traders.

Ops Pasar, which ran from Jan 12 to March 17, focused on the prices of vegetables, meat and chicken on all levels of the supply chain from retailers to suppliers where 1,149 notices were issued to traders suspected of profiteering.

He added the ministry had received 15 complaints related to chicken prices, 15 on fish prices, two on vegetables and one on meat prices since the start of Ramadan.

“However, there were no complaints on the supply of all the items, ” he said.

Alexander also explained that prices displayed on the ministry’s PriceCatcher mobile application were 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 (e-aduan@kpdnhep.gov.my), Ez ADU KPDNHEP, the Enforcement Command Centre (03-8882 6088/6245) or via Whatsapp at 019-279 4317.

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