Saifuddin: Report price spike on goods

Profiteering and price increases could lead to panic buying by consumers who are worried that prices would rise higher

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ALL stakeholders including consumer associations should report to the authority within 24 hours on any activities of price gouging and profiteering during the upcoming festive season, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said.

Saifuddin said such profiteering and price increases could lead to panic buying by consumers who are worried that prices would rise higher.

“I hope any parties, including consumer associations, will report to us on any case of price gouging, or if they find any traders hiding their supplies from the consumers,” Saifuddin said, after handing over certificates of appreciation to the selected trade zone recipients in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“If it happens, I welcome the associations to report to us directly as we do not want to trigger any panic among the public, which could worsen the situation,” he said.

“We want to know the location, which item and where is the place that traders are hiding the items,” he said, adding that any report lodged within 24 hours would enable the enforcement officer to act accordingly as soon as possible.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor, president Datuk Dr Jacob George reportedly said despite the government’s control over 27 consumer items for festive season, the associations have started to receive complaints of profiteering from retailers.

He said these activities were spotted mainly in the Klang Valley, while Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak have also started to experience the same pattern.

However, Saifuddin said there were no reports of the 27 controlled items being sold above the ceiling price so far.

The government had earlier announced that 27 consumer items were included into its watch list under the festive season price control scheme, ahead of the Hari Raya celebration next month.

The 30-day scheme started from May 21, 2019 to June 19, 2019 will allow consumers to enjoy regulated prices on several items such as groundnuts, dried chillis and long beans.

Saifuddin said from the total 27 items, ten of them were already in the Supply Chain Analysis study started early January.

The three months’ study has allowed Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) to zoom in on elements for every item that contributes to the end price before reaching consumers.

In its preliminary check, KPDNHEP found a case of an importer who gained up to 133% of business margin before the products reached the wholesaler.

The outcome of the study is expected to be presented to the Cabinet by July.

Meanwhile, seven shopping malls were rated as the selected trade zone by KPDNHEP including the Sunway Velocity Mall in Kuala Lumpur and Alamanda Shopping Mall in Putrajaya.

As of 2019, about 3,220 premises and 37 shopping complexes were granted such rating after all of them complied with the ministry’s rules and regulation, including avoiding piracy products sold in their outlets.

Separately, Saifuddin said he is expected to consult former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin after Hari Raya festive season to get more ideas in addressing the issue of people’s cost of living.