Ice to cost more from Jan 1 in Malaysia

The price of edible tube ice will be increased by 50 sen per bag and RM2.50 (S$0.96) per block of ice from Jan 1.

According to a newspaper advertisement by the Tube Ice Manufacturers of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya on Dec 24, the price hike was unavoidable as the costs of production and distribution had increased.

This, said the manufacturers, were because of the increase in electricity tariff and fuel price, and the implementation of minimum wage this year.

"The latest revision of electricity tariff (to be increased by 17 per cent) starting next year, and the increase of diesel price by 11.1 per cent since Sept 2 has aggravated matters. The implementation of minimum wage on Jan 1 this year has increased the cost of salaries by 18 per cent.

"The cost of plastic bags, tires, and spare parts have also increased over the years.

"We have no choice, but to adjust prices to ensure our efforts to provide hygienic ice are not affected."

The manufacturers also cited regular enforcement by the Health Ministry and the Food Act 1983, which required all ice producers and handlers to improve food safety procedures.

"The last price hike was in 2011, and the cost of manufacturing has increased since then. To maintain our profit margin, we have to hike the selling price," an official from Atlas Edible Ice Sdn Bhd said.

Many were concerned that the price of food and drinks would increase following the hike in edible tube ice prices. Some questioned the justification of such a hike.

The notice in the newspaper listed 26 tube ice manufacturers that will increase their prices. They are: Atlas Edible Ice Sdn Bhd, i-Bing Tube Ice Sdn Bhd, BNI Tube Ice Sdn Bhd, Chuan Heng Trading Kajang Sdn Bhd, SP Edible Ice Sdn Bhd, Everest Aisvaram Sdn Bhd, Fui Wah Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Kajang Crystal Ice, KFi Cold Storage Sdn Bhd, Pacific Tube Ice Supply, Shukor Sakam Ais Rintik-Rintik Sdn Bhd, Perfect Tube Ice Sdn Bhd, SJ Ice Sdn Bhd, Sunflower Heritage Sdn Bhd, Twilight Tube Ice Sdn Bhd, Wai Mah Trading, United Sundry Goods (TPG) Sdn Bhd, Jade Tube Ice Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, Thiem Nam Sdn Bhd, Ocean Land Sdn Bhd (Kuala Selangor only), Ais Ceria Trading, Ais Everest Sdn Bhd, Citi Ice Sdn Bhd, AE Ice Sdn Bhd, KS Trading and Dynamic Tube Ice.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said there would not be any increase in the price of food and beverages.

A bag of tube ice currently costs RM3, while a block of ice weighing 50kg costs RM10.