PUTRAJAYA, Jan 7 — The government cannot dictate prices at fast food chains as these are not legally controlled, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
Responding to questions about the investigations on KFC and McDonald’s over consumer complaints, he said his ministry was still engaging with the respective franchise owners.
“We will ask them to give a further explanation first. However, I cannot call them and simply ask them to lower their prices. I don’t think that is the role of the government.
He acknowledged that his ministry was tasked with protecting consumer interests but added that this must also be balanced with the needs of businesses and economic growth.
Saifuddin’s ministry launched investigations against KFC and McDonald’s after consumers complained of price increases at both chains.
KFC later courted controversy by releasing a statement that suggested its recent price increases were related to the Sales and Services Tax (SST).
Saifuddin said he met with QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd, the parent company of KFC, last Friday and that they explained the reason behind the increase.
Among these were the rising cost of production directly caused by the franchise agreement that only allowed the franchisee to buy their ingredients from selected suppliers.
Saifuddin added that his ministry has issued a notice to QSR Brands under Section 21 of the Price Control and Anti Profiteering Act and is awaiting a written response from the latter on the reason for the price hike.
Saifuddin also revealed that he will meet with representatives from fast food chain McDonald’s today.