BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry does not deny that there has been a rise in the prices of vegetables in Penang but says it is still stable.
State director S. Jegan said inspections by the ministry's enforcement personnel had shown that there had been hikes in the prices of 10 types of vegetables in Penang but not as high as claimed by the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) on Wednesday (Feb 2).
He told Sinar Harian that tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, long beans, sawi and red bell peppers were among the vegetables that had seen a rise in price of between 4.03% and 71.43%.
"There have been some changes in the prices of vegetables due to various factors including uncertain weather conditions of late but nothing as drastic as a 160% rise," he told Sinar Harian when met in Bukit Minyak here on Thursday (Feb 2).
Jegan said the inspections had also shown that there were premises where the prices of 10 types of vegetables and raw ingredients had gone down, some by as much as 20.04%.
He added that these included round cabbage, broccoli, squid, skipjack tuna, seedless red watermelon and kailan.
He also said that to prevent profiteering, Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry personnel would carry out daily checks at wet markets, morning markets, night markets, farmers' markets and supermarkets.
He said stern action would be taken against those who were involved in profiteering.
On Wednesday (Feb 1), Sinar Harian reported that CAP had urged the ministry and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) to take immediate steps to bring down the prices of vegetables that had gone up by as much as 160% in the past month.
CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the organisation had received complaints from traders saying that distributors and wholesalers had warned them of more hikes in prices in the coming weeks.