Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister surveys food prices

KUALA LUMPUR - Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday visited four business premises here to get a true picture of the prices of daily essentials and restaurant food.

The survey, beginning at 8.30am, covered the Selayang NSK Supermarket, Selayang Daily Market, Snofa Mini Market in Greenwood Park and a restaurant in Taman Sri Gombak.

Accompanied by Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek and Agriculture and Agro-Based Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Muhyiddin was briefed by traders and owners of the business premises.

The deputy prime minister took the opportunity to chat with customers at the premises and listen to their grouses, spending about 30 minutes at each outlet.

On Wednesday, Muhyiddin announced the setting up of a Special Cabinet Committee to tackle the rising cost of living, which is chaired by him.

During a press conference, he said the government would monitor the tendency of traders to indiscriminately raise the price of goods to make a profit. He said traders must display price tags, as required under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, to facilitate monitoring by the relevant authority.

Muhyiddin said the government had a number of mechanisms for price control, including expanding the import permit to increase supply. He called on the people to be patient for the special committee to present its findings by the end of the month. He said there would be stricter enforcement to ensure the price of goods was controlled and that traders abide by the laws and regulations.

"When the cabinet and the prime minister appointed me to assist the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, it showed our seriousness and that we are listening to the people.

"It is not a gimmick. For as long as the situation does not improve, the special committee will review at all aspects."

Muhyiddin said the committee would do an overall monitoring, including supply and demand and people's income, besides fiscal measures taken by the government, such as subsidy rationalisation.

He said so far, the government had not received complaints on supply shortage, particularly in agriculture and livestock products.

On another matter, Muhyiddin said there should not be a recurrence of an incident involving a Muslim convert who was forced to remove her head-scarf if she wanted to continue teaching at a national school in Johor.

Muhyiddin, who is education minister, said the ministry had not issued any directive that the teacher concerned should remove her head-scarf to teach at the school.