Consumers associations feel that the October 2 reduction of the subsidy for RON95 petrol and diesel by 20 sen per litre should be no excuse for traders to introduce a drastic increase in the prices of their goods.
They claim that any trader who raises prices is being irresponsible and taking advantage of the higher cost of RON95 petrol (RM2.30 per litre) and diesel (RM2.20) to reap exorbitant profits.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said it was inevitable that the higher fuel price would raise transportation cost, but the impact on goods was minimal.
“It is difficult for us to dissociate a rise in the fuel price with higher prices for raw materials such as vegetables, meat, fish and chicken, but the rise in the prices of these goods is very minimal, just a few sens only,” he told Bernama.
Last Friday, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the fuel price rise in September last year triggered an increase of between eight and 13% in the prices of fish.
He had said that the ministry was monitoring the situation to ensure that this was not repeated.
Selvaraj said it was unreasonable to raise prices of ‘teh tarik’ and ‘roti canai’ by 20 sen when the fuel price increased by 20 sen per litre.
Consumer Safety Association of Malaysia president Samsuddin Mohamad Fauzi said traders should absorb any minimal rise in the prices of goods to help the people who were burdened with a rise in the cost of living.
“Traders should not just pass on any rise in cost to the consumers every time the price of fuel goes up. Consumers understand if they have to do so when the rise in fuel price is high, but not when it is very small,” he said.
Samsuddin said that passing on the price increases to consumers would only contribute to inflationary pressure on the economy.
“Traders should consider the short-term and long-term effects on the economy and not just reap huge profits. Rising inflation will only impact the economy and adversely effect the lives of our children and grandchildren,” he said.
Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’amor Osman said consumers had the power to check any price increase in a free market.
“Traders can raise prices at will by citing all kinds of excuses. Consumers have to use their wisdom and not buy goods which are too expensive. They should go for alternatives,” he said.
He cautioned that some traders reduced the quantity of the goods, but sold them at the same price, and advised consumers to be wary of such tactics. – Bernama, October 5, 2014.