by ASILA JALIL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX
PRICES of basic items in the country will likely see a hike between 50% and 60% starting next month following the implementation of the new RM1,500 minimum wage, reports Utusan Malaysia.
The report noted prices of several daily necessities such as poultry and vegetables have increased prior to the Aidilfitri celebration last week and businesses nationwide have also implemented price hikes on their items.
Universiti Tun Abdul Razak economist Prof Emeritus Dr Barjoyai Bardai said the price hike on basic items such as food would have a ripple effect on restaurants.
Before the new minimum wage came into force, he said the prices of items have increased by 30% due to many factors among which include high demand as well as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“The price hike depends on demand and what is being offered, especially as the minimum wage rises, businesses would take advantage of the improved purchasing power among consumers.
“Besides, the Russia-Ukraine conflict would affect the import sector and lower supply despite the rising demand and higher purchasing power. This would result in businesses raising prices of several items and consumers would have no other choice but to buy the items at higher prices,” he told the Malay Daily.
The economist also urged consumers and relevant associations to boycott businesses that unreasonably increase prices of goods sold to deter them from burdening the public.
“Let’s see what would happen to chicken traders if we boycott them for a week. Other countries would opt to boycott these kinds of businesses but people in our country do not do that,” he said.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations CEO T Saravanan said the association has received complaints regarding the price hike ahead of Aidilfitri celebration. Some even quoted price increases for food items by as much as 50 sen.
He said vendors should not have increased the prices of items since the government had come up with various initiatives to offset the impacts of price hikes including the reduction in operational cost.
“Users should immediately lodge a report to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry if they come across any businesses that have raised prices of goods,” he said.