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RAYA DRIVE: 3,000 officers to make sure traders don’t overcharge
BERA: MORE than 3,000 enforcers and price-monitoring officers nationwide yesterday started screening prices of 20 Hari Raya price-controlled items, ranging from chicken and beef to imported garlic from China.
Consumer squads will also check on prices. Early indications suggest retailers were selling some of the items at prices lower than ceiling prices.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this following his visit to a market here. Later, his deputy, Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, reiterated this in Penang. Ismail Sabri said those failing to stick to ceiling prices could face a fine of up to RM100,000 or three years’ jail, or both, or receive a maximum compound of RM50,000.
A higher penalty is imposed on companies. He said it was compulsory for traders to distinguish price-controlled items by using pink price tags.
“Those who do not use the pink tags can face a RM10,000 fine or RM5,000 compound fine, while a company can be fined up to RM20,000 or RM10,000 compound fine,” he said after launching the 15-day Festive Season Price Control Scheme here. It ends on Aug 26. He spent more than an hour checking on prices at the Kerayong morning market here and was happy traders were adhering to ceiling prices. Some were selling items at lower prices.
He was accompanied by the ministry’s enforcement director, Roslan Mahayudin, business development director Che Halim Abd Rahman and state director Mohd A. Aruwan Ab. Aziz Ismail.
In Bayan Baru, Tan said 22 offences were reported in Penang during Hari Raya last year. She urged retailers not to overcharge consumers and to display the pink price tags.
“The Gawai Festival last year achieved zero consumer complaints. We must seek to repeat this for Hari Raya.
"My early observations in Penang showed many retailers selling food items such as standard chicken and eggs, below ceiling prices," she said after launching the scheme at a wet market here.
In Kota Kinabalu, the ministry's state director, Noor Alam Abdul Wahid Khan, said there had been no complaints from consumers since the scheme was introduced in 2005.
"Consumers, too, are more discerning as they take advantage of the scheme, where the prices of certain goods are different compared with normal days," he said at the central market here.
In Ipoh, the ministry's deputy director for Perak, Rosli Ahmad, said its enforcement officers were keeping tabs on markets.
"We held several meetings with major suppliers, wholesalers and retailers, who gave us their assurance that the supply of essential items will be sufficient to meet demand," he said after conducting price checks at the Ipoh Central Market.
In Kuala Lumpur, Bernama reported the ministry's Federal Territory Office director, Abu Samah Shabudin, said items would be monitored.
"The scheme will be carried out simultaneously in all wet and farmers' markets nationwide, starting from today to Aug 26."
He said this after launching the scheme at the Federal Territory level and checking out prices at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail market today. Additional reporting by Phuah Ken Lin and Roshidi Abu Samah