Monopolies to be blamed, not retailers, says Mydin MD

Ameer Ali refutes claims that prices of goods have increased after the 0% GST


Consumers have been “barking up the wrong tree” by blaming retailers for their higher living cost woes, said Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd MD Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin.

Ameer Ali said company checkbooks will show that retailers made meagre profits compared to those in industries where monopolies are apparent, such as healthcare, highway concession and energy.

He added that retailers had struggled to make any profit in recent years, citing his own hypermarket chain as an example.

Mydin, he said, made a modest profit of RM20 million this year after posting over RM100 million in losses for two successive years.

“Why don’t people go after the big players in other industries because they are controlling the market. This is not fair. In retail, it is very competitive that even the biggest of us are not making any profit — we are struggling,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

He said the likes of Gas Malaysia Bhd, IHH Healthcare Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) recorded significantly higher profits, with some seeing substantial increases in the last three years.

Checks by TMR revealed that Gas Malaysia’s net profit surged 83% from RM106.1 million in 2015 to RM194.2 million in 2017, while TM’s net income had risen 32.8% from RM700.3 million to RM929.7 million over the same period.

Profit for IHH Healthcare, on the other hand, had been on a decline over the past three years from RM899.2 million to RM595.3 million in 2017. However, the figure is notably size-able against Mydin’s net income.

“Everyone is going after the retailers, but if you look at our financial statements, we do not report profits in hundreds of millions or billions like the banks or even Top Glove Corp Bhd. We never hear retailers making that kind of money,” Ameer Ali said.

Top Glove recently reported a 51.3% increase in its third-quarter net profit to RM117.6 million from RM77.7 million a year ago after its revenue for the period crossed the RM1 billion mark — its best result within a single quarter.

Between 2015 and 2017, the world’s biggest glove maker saw its net income growing 16.8% from RM281.2 million to RM328.4 million.

Ameer Ali refuted claims that prices of goods had increased after the zero-rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“I want to categorically say that the prices at Mydin, which had a 6% GST, have dropped. It is not true that prices have gone up. You can come and see it yourself,” he said.

However, he said certain items like poultry, which had no GST, were subjected to price increases due to the festive season.

“It is like that every year. The price increases during Hari Raya because of the excess demand, but then it will go down.”

Ameer Ali expects the three-month tax holiday will give retailers a boost by 5% to 10% during the period. He had also suggested to the Council of Eminent Persons, when met on June 5, to re-introduce the Sales and Services Tax at a lower rate of 3% instead of 10%.