PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA - The rising prices of many things are snowballing into a major problem for food outlets who may in turn start raising their prices.
The latest to announce a price rise are the edible ice makers.
If eateries want to raise the price of drinks, then they may have now found the best excuse.
From Wednesday, the price of a 50kg block of ice will be increased by RM2.50, while a 10kg bag of tube ice will cost 50 sen more.
Depending on location, a 50kg block is currently sold at around RM10, while a bag of tube ice goes for around RM3.
This is according to an announcement by the Tube Ice Manufacturers of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya on Tuesday.
The 26-member association includes Atlas Edible Ice Sdn Bhd, a major player in many states.
Food sellers have already been hit by the withdrawal of sugar subsidy and rising transports costs brought about by the lower fuel subsidy.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said the ice suppliers are thinking of a nationwide increase as many of them are national level suppliers, and this means restaurant profits will be hit.
Penang Hawkers' Association president Ooi Thean Huat said his members could no longer absorb all the price hikes.
"But if we do raise prices, it will be a small increase," said Ooi.
Johor Baru Small Business Asso-ciation chairman Chin Yoke Weng said association members would maintain drink prices despite the ice price hike but Johor Bumiputera Consumer Asso-ciation deputy president Norizan Tarmeze said she expected many restaurants to hike the price of drinks.
In Penang, the Koo Soo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Tea-house Association chairman Vinah Yee Yook Chee said suppliers had informed the association of the impending increase.
"They told us they have no choice but to increase prices due to the hike in electricity and fuel prices. We are helpless to do anything as the suppliers need to make a living, too."