GEORGE TOWN, July 13 — Food outlets and restaurants found to be violating price control regulations by increasing prices will be taken to court, fined and have their items seized, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.
The domestic trade and consumer affairs minister said the ministry will increase enforcement efforts to nab unscrupulous restaurant and food outlet operators who have increased food prices.
“We have received an increase in complaints after zero-rating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and half of these complaints are of restaurants and food outlets increasing their prices,” he said.
He said his officers monitored fast food restaurants and Indian Muslim restaurants and found the price increase at the latter.
“They found a 30 per cent price increase of cooked food in Indian Muslim restaurants,” he said.
While the prices of ingredients have gone down due to the zero-rated GST, the restaurant operators had increased the prices of their cooked food because they were unethical, he alleged.
“This is not an issue of prices didn’t go down. This is an issue of the restaurant operators’ ethics,” he said.
He told former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak not to spin his previous statements that mentioned these price increases by unethical food outlets.
He was responding to comments by Najib that Pakatan Harapan (PH) has to accept the reality that the GST was not the main reason for the increase of prices.
Saifuddin reminded Najib that the rise in the cost of living is not due to one factor only: The GST.
“The increase in the cost of living was due to the policies implemented by the previous administration that affected housing, health, education, transportation, utilities and food and beverage,” he said.
He said these six aspects contribute to the high cost of living and this was due to the “massive damage” left behind by Najib’s administration.
He then reminded Najib to attend the upcoming Parliament session and to take an active role in it.
“I hope he attends the full session and not ‘ponteng’ like he used to do when he was the prime minister. We will see him in Parliament and he can ask anything. We will answer him,” he said.