Price control announced on 13 popular food items in Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA - White pomfret (ikan bawal), a favourite dish for Chinese New Year, will be cheaper by at least RM1 (S$0.38) compared with last year's festive season.

The Domestic Trade, Coopera-tives and Consumerism Ministry has set RM37 as the ceiling price for a kilo of the fish.

The price is for the fish that weighs between 200g and 400g. The ceiling price was RM38 per kilo last year.

But the maximum price of large banana prawn, another favourite dish for the reunion dinner will be RM3 higher this time around. Its ceiling price had been set at RM38 per kilo.

Both items are among 13 foodstuff, including live chicken, standard and super chicken, chicken eggs, round cabbage, garlic, live pig, pork belly and pork and lard, which have been placed under the price control scheme for Chinese New Year from Jan 26 to Feb 9.

The maximum price of live chicken is RM6.20 per kilo, standard chicken (slaughtered and dressed chicken with leg, head, liver and gizzard, RM7.50), super chicken (slaughtered and dressed chicken without leg, head, liver and gizzard, RM8.30), Grade A chicken egg (36 sen each), Grade B chicken egg (35 sen) and Grade C chicken egg (34 sen).

Round cabbage from Indonesia and China, excluding Beijing, is set at a ceiling price of RM3.30 per kilo while garlic from China, pork belly as well as pork and lard are RM5, RM22 and RM16, respectively.

Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek, who unveiled the list of the prices yesterday, said the scheme was to curb unreasonable rises in prices.

"Traders cannot simply put their own prices as the consumers would now know the maximum prices of the items.

"We have also set the enforcement date to start five days before the celebration.

"We want to avoid the last minute rush because this is when consumers would usually be at mercy of the traders," he said.

He reminded traders to use a pink tag to differentiate the controlled items from other goods.

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