Prices at food outlets still high despite drop in cost of raw ingredients, says Rafizi

KUALA TERENGGANU: Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli has denounced the attitude of certain restaurant and food stall operators who still refuse to lower their prices despite the falling cost of raw ingredients.

He said it was vital for these businesses to cooperate in bringing down their prices in line with those of the ingredients in order to help improve the people’s spending power and ease their financial burden.

"Sometimes people get angry when they see that prices of raw ingredients (are declining and) electricity rates are maintained, but the prices charged by restaurants and other food outlets remain the same.

"So far, the prices (of ingredients) have shown a decline but not the prices of food items prepared by restaurants and stalls, including takeaway food, which continue to rise,” he said.

Rafizi, who is also PKR deputy president, was speaking to reporters after officiating the Terengganu PKR Election Convention at Taman Tamadun Islam here Saturday (Jan 21).

He said consumers also should be more proactive in response to changes in the prices of goods by avoiding restaurants and other food outlets that offer food and beverages at unreasonable prices.

"Consumers should react faster to price changes. It is the best way to influence what retailers do, particularly restaurants,” he said.

In a separate development, Rafizi said the people must have confidence that it is best to have an economic system where there exist checks and balances between politicians and economists in order to take into account all factors.

"If we leave things only to the politicians, they would make decisions at the people’s behest. Sometimes what the people demand are the best for the country, and sometimes they are not so good for the long term,” he said.

The minister said the recent decision by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) took into consideration what is beneficial for the long term and short term as well as the people’s interest moving forward.

On Thursday (Jan 19), BNM’s Monetary Policy Committee surprised the market by deciding to keep the OPR at 2.75% after four consecutive hikes.

Nonetheless, some economists expect further rate hikes this year. - Bernama

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