GEORGE TOWN, Nov 6 — Brisk sales were reported yesterday at hypermarkets in Bayan Baru, particularly for food items such as eggs, before the conditional movement control order (CMCO) began in Mukim 12.

Penang Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Department director Mohd Ridzuan Ab Ghapar, however, stressed that there was no panic buying.

“This shows that consumers are now more mature and prepared compared to the MCO earlier this year and I would like to reassure all consumers that there is more than enough supply of essential items so there is no reason to start panic buying,” he said after visiting the Giant hypermarket in Bayan Baru here this morning.

Officers from the Penang Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Penang carry out a spot check at Giant Hypermarket, Bayan Baru November 6, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Officers from the Penang Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Penang carry out a spot check at Giant Hypermarket, Bayan Baru November 6, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

He said department officers will be conducting regular checks at supermarkets and retail shops in the CMCO area to ensure there are no sudden price hikes of essential items including face masks and hand sanitisers.

He reminded all businesses and traders not to take advantage of the situation by raising the prices of essential items including food during the CMCO period.

“Any retailer found hiking prices or hoarding controlled price items will face enforcement action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 and Control of Supplies Act 1961,” he said.

The CMCO in Mukim 12, which covers Bayan Lepas, Bayan Baru, Sungai Ara, Batu Maung and the whole Free Industrial Zone area, is from November 6 to November 19.

Consumers shop for groceries at Giant Hypermarket in Bayan Baru November 6, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Consumers shop for groceries at Giant Hypermarket in Bayan Baru November 6, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

On another matter, Mohd Ridzuan said with more people buying online, the department has seen an increase in complaints regarding online transactions this year.

“Since January 1 until today, we have received a total of 1,484 consumer complaints, out of which 456 are on online transactions,” he said.

He said most of the complaints on online transactions involved orders that did not arrive or items that did not match the seller’s description.

Out of the 1,484, a total of 446 complaints were on prices and 194 on misleading services.

He said the department conducted 37,902 checks on business premises in the state between January 1 and October 30 this year. 

As of November 5, the department also conducted 3,384 checks on face masks supplies and 2,491 checks on hand sanitiser supplies.

Consumers can lodge complaints with the department through its portal https://eaduan.kpdnhep.gov.my, email to [email protected] or call 1 800 886 800.