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#NSTviral: RM50 price tag for milk, butter & bread sparks online debate

KUALA LUMPUR: A Reddit post highlighting a price hike in basic groceries, totaling RM50 for four items, has garnered attention.

A picture that came with the post shows the four items, which are two 2-litre bottles of milk, a loaf of bread, and a pack of butter. According to the uploader, it was purchased from a well-known local convenience store chain.

It sparked a debate in the comments section, with some comparing it to much cheaper prices in countries like the UK and in Europe.

While others remain adamant that the food items shown in the post do not represent the typical Malaysian diet.

"Why are you guys bad-faithing this by bringing expats into the mix?

"How many Malaysians eat a full diet of bread, milk, butter and other dairy products? You literally import your wheat, import your milk and import your fermented food… you want to live on a western diet in an eastern country, you'll have to pay for it," one comment read.

"And vice versa. A reasonable bowl of noodles in Europe is €8. When's the last time any of you paid RM40 for noodles?"

In contrast, @dakrdudepers replied that the items are from local brands, highlighting that eating out in European countries are known to be pricey anyway.

"Bro these are local brands that are grown (made) locally. Eating out in the EU is expensive because of labour/minimum wage.

"A person in the EU can opt for cheap groceries but in Malaysia groceries are expensive. You could eat out but you won't get good/healthy quality ingredients/food for less than RM20."

Similarly, a comment posted by a user claiming to be a British expatriate says it's expensive.

"That's still quite a lot though (speaking) as a Brit. Ten quid for milk, bread and butter?," user @plantmic questioned.

@plantmic compared the cost of the same items in countries like the UK, saying it would be much cheaper even after currency conversion.

"All of the items would total up to just £5.75, equivalent to about RM34" he said.

Responding to the issue, Consumers Association of Kedah (Cake) president Yusrizal Yusoff said that the price for the said items seem reasonable. He noted that food prices have increased, especially with a falling ringgit.

"In my opinion, the increase in prices of goods is indeed happening, but this price hike is still reasonable.

"However, it cannot be denied that this price increase is burdensome for consumers," he added.

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) chief executive officer T. Saravanan said whether the items shown were cheap or expensive– basic needs or luxury– it is actually hard to determine as it differs from one income group to another.

"It's basically back to consumers' own choices in terms of planning, budgeting and comparing prices," he added.

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