This article first appeared as 'Food prices have come down, says minister' in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 5, 2019 - August 11, 2019.
CONTRARY to complaints that the prices of groceries have been going up, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs says the prices of major food items have actually come down.
The ministry conducted a special price monitoring scheme involving 900 selected consumer goods at 7,047 business premises, comprising wet markets, grocery stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and bookstores, among others.
A comparison was then made between the average prices in May 2018 (before the Goods and Services Tax was zero rated) and the average prices in June this year.
“Overall, our analysis showed that 512 goods, or 56.9% of the 900 selected goods, recorded a fall in prices of between 0.06% and 45.72%,” Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail says via email. Goods that saw a fall in prices included wolf-herring fish (ikan parang), small red onions from Myanmar, stingray, flower crab and small rose onions from India.
“However, there were also goods that saw a moderate increase in prices such as capsicum, red chilli, bird’s eye chilli (cili padi) and dried squid,” the minister adds.
He says although the ministry is heartened that 512 goods recorded a decrease in prices, it also recognises that more needs to be done to address profiteering, anti-competitive practices and supply chain issues.
“[We] have been very active on this front. From May 2018 to May 2019, our enforcement officers inspected 549,475 business premises all over the country and opened 11,281 investigation papers under various consumer protection laws.
“Of those cases, an estimated RM49.04 million worth of goods have been confiscated and 8,264 compounds with an estimated value of RM 2.07 million have been issued.