Be ready to fork out more to eat out


PETALING JAYA: Prices of meals sold at food outlets are expected to rise in tandem with the removal of subsidies for bottled cooking oil and inflation.

This is the caution sounded by various food and beverage operators as they try to prep consumers to face higher prices post-July 1.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president, Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan, said food prices have increased slightly, and is expected to increase next month.

“Changes are there, but we try to make sure that it is not more than 10 sen to 20 sen.

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“This is beyond our control. I requested my members to maintain old prices, but they can’t sustain anymore as their overheads have increased.

“Normally, the price of certain raw materials will only increase once or twice every year. But this time, it is unusual. Flour, condensed and evaporated milk, Milo and Nescafe prices, have increased three times. Not to mention chicken price also increased many times,” he said.

Jawahar said that in a meeting with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi and the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia recently, the maximum price for chicken was capped at RM10.40 per kg.

However, this is not the case on the ground as Jawahar said he bought chicken for RM10.50 per kg on Monday.

“Hopefully the government will put in a ceiling price for chicken and not a floating price because I don’t think the price will go down,” he said.

He also urged the government not to remove subsidies on essential items, considering the fact that Malaysia just recovered from Covid-19.

Jawahar advised consumers to be smart and only buy food at a reasonable prices.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on June 22 that the temporary subsidy programme for (palm-based) cooking oil in 1kg, 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottles, which was introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be discontinued from July 1, though the subsidy for cooking oil in 1kg packets will be retained.

Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association vice-president Jeremy Lim seconded Jawahar, saying the public can expect price hikes at certain restaurants as operators struggle with the rising costs.

“Over the course of the past 27 months, prices of raw material, transportation and logistics have been increasing significantly.

“Different business operators will take different approaches to managing these increases. Not everyone will increase prices come July 1. Businesses that choose to pass on the price increases to consumers have their own set of pressures too,” he said, adding that it is not an easy decision for operators to increase prices during this period of inflation.

“We are also fearful that we might price ourselves out of the market. At the same time, for some businesses, if they don’t increase prices, they may be loss-making,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur Bumiputra Traders and Hawkers Association vice-president Datuk Muhammad Baba Kutty said prices of food sold by hawkers could increase by 25% to 40%.

“At the end of the day, the public will suffer because the prices of food have increased. When the hawkers buy (ingredients) at a high price, of course they will sell the (meal) for a higher price,” he said, adding that the alternative is to reduce the size of portions being served.

He said hawkers were already feeling the pinch when suppliers hiked prices due to the movement control order, and added the government must also look into the red tape, hidden charges, as well as the problems related to supply.

Last Sunday, the Finance Minister revealed that the total amount of subsidies is expected to reach nearly RM80bil this year, the largest ever amount in the country’s history.

Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the subsidies covered petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, cooking oil, flour and electricity, which when added with other assistance such as social welfare assistance, agricultural assistance, aid for fishermen and so on, will likely bring the final figure total close to RM80bil.

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