Over 3,000 personnel deployed to prevent profiteering

On the lookout: Some 900 officers will monitor any change in prices or unreasonable price hikes after the government kicked off the targeted diesel subsidy on June 10. — ONG SOON HIN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: More than 3,000 personnel under the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry will be acting as “price monitors” across the country to prevent profiteering by unscrupulous traders following the recent diesel subsidy rationalisation.

The ministry said some 900 of these officers will monitor any trend in price changes or unreasonable price hikes after the government kicked off the targeted diesel subsidy on June 10.

A ministry spokesman said the 900 are in addition to over 2,200 personnel from its enforcement division who will go on daily rounds nationwide to carry out price surveillance in response to public complaints.

It will station its personnel strategically at business areas, he added.

The ministry also urged the public to channel information on rogue traders who may exploit the recent diesel subsidy rationalisation exercise by hiking up the prices of goods and services.

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Consumers, said the spokesman, can report any business that engages in profiteering they personally come across or have information on.

“If consumers find that prices are higher and were raised after the implementation of the targeted diesel subsidy, they can report it to the ministry by providing detailed information.

“Such information should include the location of the business premises and the ‘before and after’ prices of the goods. Such details will enable the ministry to act faster and more effectively,” said the spokesman when contacted yesterday.

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Asked if the ministry has identified any increase in prices of goods or services since the targeted diesel subsidy came into effect two weeks ago, the spokesman said a price increase does not necessarily amount to profiteering.

“The ministry does not control the prices of goods. If the price of an item is raised due to an increase in cost and complies with the relevant laws, then a price hike is justified.

“If it is otherwise, stern action will be taken on any party under existing laws.”

The ministry has warned that any party found taking advantage of the current situation by manipulating the prices of goods and service charges will face action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

Offenders face fines of up to RM500,000 for companies while individuals can be slapped with fines of up to RM100,000 or a maximum jail term of three years, or both.

The ministry said under Ops Kesan 2.0, the public can channel information or tip off its enforcement division on unjustified price hikes related to the Subsidised Diesel Control System 2.0 (SKDS 2.0) at 012-665 4292.

Alternatively, consumers may also send WhatsApp text messages to 019-848 8000; call the ministry hotline at 1-800-886-800, send email to the ministry’s complaints portal at http://e-aduan.kpdn.gov.my; or via its smartphone application Ez ADU KPDN.

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