Association chief executive tells restaurateurs to avoid from profiteering off of unstable market factors
12 Jun 2022 8:00AM
KUALA LUMPUR – Businesses have the right to up their prices to make a living but the new rates must be well-founded and reasonable to avoid profiteering off of unstable market factors.
According to the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations chief executive Saravanan Thambirajah, the low market supply of staple items such as poultry and wheat flour explains why food prices at eateries have gone up.
However, he said restaurateurs should not take the opportunity to raise prices without justification at the expense of consumers.
“If there is a reduction in the costs of raw materials and business owners do not lower their prices accordingly, then they are definitely profiteering,” he told The Vibes, adding that recent soaring prices can be attributed to an imbalance in market supply and demand.
Labelling global issues such as export bans enforced by other nations and fluctuations in our currency exchange rate as the cause behind declining supplies of raw materials, he said it would be difficult to predict when the situation will ease up.
He added that the recent execution of the new minimum wage is another business cost employers must bear and possibly plays a role in the increased prices.
It was reported in May that India has banned wheat exports with immediate effect as it seeks to bolster its food security following its wheat production suffering during a heatwave.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced in March the implementation of the revised minimum wage of RM1,500 starting May 1 for companies with five employees or more.
Saravanan also urged consumers to play their role in addressing unfair price hikes by immediately making a complaint to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry if they come across shop owners exploiting market shortage to raise their prices unreasonably.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Penang president Mohideen Abdul Kader said despite the increased minimum wage, low-income earners are still struggling to make ends meet.
As such, high food prices may have damaging negative effects on the health of people, especially those from the B40 group, whose nutritional needs will be denied if they are unable to afford a proper diet.
He also called on the ministry to more frequently monitor prices set by traders to ensure that prices are not raised without supervision.
Yesterday, The Vibes reported a roti canai and teh tarik index that documented the price of the local favourites at Indian Muslim (mamak) restaurants across the nation.