Senior Minister: Govt to decide on lower ceiling price for face masks after backlash

Senior MinisterDatuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya March 19, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior MinisterDatuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya March 19, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — The government will meet tomorrow to decide on a lower ceiling price for a three-ply face mask said Malaysia Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob today.

In a special press conference, Ismail who is also the Defence Minister said the government including Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin disagrees with the increment which was announced by one of the ministers on Friday which drew flak from citizens online.

“The price of the ceiling mask set RM2 is too high, so the prime minister did not agree and tomorrow we will discuss the matter (and) if possible to be lowered to the previous price.

“There is no reason for the price to go up because the government has announced the cancellation of import duty on the face mask,” he told reporters in a press conference after the special meeting on the Restricted Movement Order and Covid-19 pandemic in Putrajaya today.

On Friday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi announced that the new price for a three-ply face mask is now RM2 per unit, up from 80 cents previously

Malaysia is facing a shortage of face masks as the Covid-19 virus continues to spread.

Currently the prices for one-ply earloop face masks, two-ply earloop face masks and N95 face masks, remain the same.

The price of one-ply face masks is RM0.15 per unit, or RM7 per box; two-ply face masks is RM0.20 per unit, or RM10 per box; and N95 masks is RM6 per unit.

In a related matter, Ismail announced that the government is currently finalising the addition of 10 million face masks from China to help with the fight against Covid-19 infections here.

Ismail said that the frontliners, especially health workers, will receive the bulk of it before they are distributed to other high-risk areas.

“The government is currently in the final phase of purchasing 10 million face masks from China and it is fully funded by the government.

“Priority of the distributions will be to the frontliners and the rest will be distributed to high risk identified areas and further distribution will be determined by the government.

“We hope the deal will be finalised as soon as possible,” he said.

The supplies would then be handled by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) for frontliners such as doctors, nurses, the police, army and others. Nadma will also work with Pharmaniaga for public distribution of the face masks.

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