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LETTER | Govt needs to monitor food prices

LETTER | The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) to take immediate action in reducing the prices of vegetables and fruits, as a study has shown that the prices had increased drastically over the last two weeks.

The price of chicken increased from RM9 to RM10 per kilogram and traders have alerted that the price will increase further. 

Vegetables such as ladies’ fingers went from RM7 to RM10, mustard greens (sawi) from RM4.50 to RM6, tomatoes from RM5 to RM7, bird's eye chillis (chilli padi) from RM7 to RM9, red chillis from RM20 to RM25 and carrots from RM4 to RM6.

The country also needs to meet the local demand first until the rainy season is over rather than prioritising the exporting of fish and vegetables to other countries.

The ministry's enforcement unit is also urged to investigate the sharp rise in prices as the increase has brought hardship to the low-income group.

Since a number of wet markets in Penang were ordered closed after traders were tested positive for Covid-19, it has caused difficulties for consumers to obtain their supplies. This also creates an opportunity for irresponsible traders to raise the prices of goods.

CAP had repeatedly urged Fama to control the marketing and distribution of vegetables in the past but our calls have fallen on deaf ears. Our primary concern about rising prices is the impact on the nutritional needs of the low-income group.

The optimum amount of nutritious food intake will be compromised due to the increase in prices.

It has been found that Malaysians eat very little fruits, this could be attributed to the fact that few people plant fruit trees and local fruits are also very expensive. 

Lower-income families tend to prioritise expenditure on food for main meals, thereby causing fruits to become side-lined.

MOHIDEEN ABDUL KADER is president of the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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