PUTRAJAYA, July 26 — The enforcement of the price control scheme for up to 20 essential items starts today under the watchful eyes of 1,845 enforcement officers and 1,071 monitoring officers from the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry.
The Ministry’s enforcement division special task force head Fahmi Kasim said the team would keep their eyes on prices at public markets, morning markets, supermarkets and retail outlets for 17 days until Aug 11 in enforcing the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.
He said traders were also required to display pink price tags for goods under the scheme to distinguish them from other goods and dissatisfied consumers could complain to the officers present.
Traders caught selling above the ceiling prices will be penalised under the Act and could be fined up to RM100,000 or three years imprisonment or both while companies could be fined up to RM500,000, he told reporters after carrying out an inspection on traders at a public market in Presint 8 here today.
The 20 essential items include super chicken, standard chicken, local beef, imported beef and Indian buffalo meat.
On ‘Ops Harga’ which was launched on July 6, he said that until yesterday, 108,149 premises were checked, of which the ministry recorded 606 offences mostly selling above ceiling prices and not displaying price tag.
The ministry seized goods worth RM114,288 and issued compounds amounting to RM58,150 from traders during the operation.
In KUALA PILAH, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek said about 150,000 members of the consumer squad would help detect unscrupulous traders who resorted to unethical business practices during the enforcement of the price control scheme.
He said they were tasked week monitoring price trends, supply of goods and services, and consumer issues as well convey information to consumers,” he told reporters after breaking his fast at the Taman Desa Anggerik Mosque, Juasseh near here last night.
The consumer squad is a new name for the price monitoring volunteers group, which was set up in 2001, following a rebranding exercise.
Speaking to reporters after inspecting traders at the Jalan Meru Main Market, Klang today, Hasan said the ceiling prices for the essential items under the price control scheme were fixed based on the prevailing situation.
“We are flexible. Although the scheme is meant to protect consumers from unscrupulous traders, it also enables suppliers and traders to make profit,” he said, adding that traders should ensure that their price tags were readable.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry has assured the public of an adequate supply of essential food items for the festive season.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said there was no need for the public to make panic buying or wholesalers to resort to hoarding.
For example, the ministry has increased import of coconuts by 10 per cent or three million to bring the total to 30 million coconuts for Aidilfitri, he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony between Agrofresh Holdings Berhad and Dashang Group to import Cavendish bananas from China in Putrajaya.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah said a customer service counter was open at 72 main markets nationwide throughout the Price Control Scheme enforcement.
Speaking to reporters after inspecting traders at the Chow Kit Market, he said this would enable consumers to lodge complaints against errant traders to the ministry.
In JOHOR BARU, Johor Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said there was adequate supply of essential food in the state for the Aidilfitri.
Commending on traders for selling red chilli at RM13 per kg compared with the ceiling price of RM14 per kg, he said this was a good attitude as it benefited consumers.
In KOTA BARU, 160 monitoring officers had been deployed to check on errant traders, said Kelantan Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office director Sharuddin Jali.
He said non-governmental organisations, penghulu and consumers were also welcomed to monitor the prices of essential items.
In SUNGAI PETANI, the Kedah Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office said the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) has assured the public of an adequate supply of chicken and if necessary permits would be issued to import poultry from selected countries.
The Veterinary Services Department has also imported live cattle from neighbouring countries and frozen beef from India for the festive season, he told reporters after launching the Price Control Scheme at the Taman Ria Public Market.
In GEORGE TOWN, the Penang Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office will get the assistance of the consumer squad, penghulu, community leaders and NGOs to help monitor the prices of goods, said its director, Mohd Salleh Ma’Amor.
In KUCHING, the Sarawak Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office will investigate a complaint from retailers that they were forced to sell standard chicken at RM10 per kg, which is above the ceiling price of RM8.50 per kg, as wholesalers sold them at a higher price, said its director, Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman.
Speaking to reporters after inspecting traders at Medan Niaga Satok, he said irresponsible people allegedly created an artificial shortage of chicken to push up the price.
In LABUAN, Labuan Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office enforcement chief officer Aslani Dabi said 20 enforcement officers were tasked with inspecting shops, mini markets, and hypermarkets on the island during the enforcement of the Price Control mechanism.
On “Ops Harga” which started on July 6, he said checks were conducted on 599 premises and 14 unethical trade related offences were recorded.
He said goods, including weighing machines, worth RM3,575 were seized during the operation. – Bernama