Melaka traders relieved following green light to increase food prices


MELAKA • Most food traders in Melaka have expressed relief, after getting the green light from the government to increase their selling price, provided they do not seek to make excessive profits following the rising prices of raw materials.

‘Asam Pedas’ stall operator at Kamponk Avenue, Dataran Pahlawan in Bandar Hilir here, Julaiha Baharin, 42, said she had to increase the price of her dishes recently as the price of fish such as ‘mabong’, ‘kembong’ and ‘siakap’ had surged after four months of trading at the shopping centre food court.

She said the increase was about RM2 to RM3 and the profit earned was only to cover the operating costs of her business such as shop rental payment of RM1,600 a month, not including water, electricity and gas.

“I have no choice since the price of raw ingredients such as fish has almost doubled. For example, the price of mabong was RM12 per kg but now it is RM22 per kg.

“So I have to increase the price of my asam pedas dish from RM10 to RM12,” she told Bernama when met here today.

Mixed rice stall operator, Husni Azmi, 46, said the increase in price at her eatery in Jalan Plaza Mahkota here, involved chicken and fish dishes and the hike was only by 20 to 30 per cent.

Having been in the business for over 10 years in the tourist hotspot, she did not want to raise prices excessively even though the profits were low.

“We as traders are stuck, when the price of raw materials goes up, we cannot increase the selling price at will because apart from losing our customers, the authorities would be going after us.

She hoped the government would continue to control raw materials price increase so that it would not burden traders.

Ismail Jamaludin, 40, from Klebang here said traders could not be blamed totally for raising their selling prices because several parties were involved in the raw material sales and supply chain.

“Those who go to the market will know and notice the sharp rise in the price of raw materials and actual costs of food items such as fish, chicken, vegetables and eggs.

“Consumers also have a choice to not buy food at high prices and resort to cooking at home to save some money,” said the private sector employee. 

For rickshaw rider Nas Harry, 53, the increase in the selling price of food affects those living from hand to mouth, more so for people like him who had to eat out due to the nature of the job.

Nas, who has been a rickshaw rider for over 28 years, said the increase in the price of raw materials was like a trend every year, especially during the festive season, thus burdening the people.

“Now that the tourism industry in Melaka is still down and not many are taking rickshaw rides, there were days when I had no income at all,” he said.

Yesterday, the media reported that Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Datuk Rosol Wahid said food traders were allowed to increase selling prices, provided there was no element of profiteering.