KUALA LUMPUR: Consumer groups have cautioned members of the public against panic buying during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period, as there are more than enough supplies to go around.
They, however, noted that despite sporadic cases, residents of the Klang Valley appeared to have handled the latest CMCO with relative calm with regard to stocking up on essential goods.
Malaysian Consumer Movement president Darshan Singh Dhillon said incidences of panic-buying had been limited this time around compared with when the MCO was implemented in March.
“During the MCO, the level of panic buying was shocking, to the extent that the authorities, and even non-governmental organisations, had to step in to reassure the public and caution them of the ill effects of such behaviour.
“This time around, it hasn’t been too bad. While there were admittedly scenes of people thronging grocery stores, these were mostly due to them leaving late to shop because of work and family commitments.
“It was nowhere near past hoarding levels.
“It appears that people now generally understand the situation, and know that businesses will remain open in accordance with the designated hours.
“There’s nothing to worry about where food stocks and supplies are concerned.”
He advised the public to adhere to the CMCO’s standard operating procedures and to only leave their homes when necessary.
Darshan’s sentiments were echoed by Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Nadzim Johan, who said Malaysians have learnt their lesson from the MCO and were less panicky this time.
“It is a welcome relief to see that people in general have refrained from panic buying.
“This is a good indication that consumers are much wiser, while being mindful and compassionate for others.
“We hope this will continue and that the authorities are able to maintain public order and monitor food supplies, especially during such trying times,” he said.
He also reminded the public that panic buying must not happen as it would ultimately lead to a shortage of supplies, something the country can ill afford.
Traders in the Klang Valley have noted lower incidences of panic buying or hoarding among the public.
Wong Yun Fatt, 43, who is general manager of local supermarket chain Econsave, said over the past week, there had been no scenes of panic buying at any of their stores across the Klang Valley.
“I’m happy to say that our stores have got more than enough food stocks and supplies to go around.
“Although some of our stores in the Federal Territory did experience a high volume of customers a few days before the CMCO, it’s been business as usual otherwise.”
A supermarket manager, who wished to be known only as Amir, said there had been no sudden spike in customers thronging his outlet throughout the week.
However, he added that some items appeared to be more popular among shoppers.
“We open for business at 9am. We’ve noticed this week that by late afternoon, we are already out of certain items such as bread and eggs, which is not the case for other supplies.
“We’ve had to put in a request with our suppliers to replenish these stocks on a daily basis for the convenience of our shoppers, especially families with children and the elderly.”
Nonetheless, business has not been brisk for some during this period.
Saravana Kumar, 36, who owns Rajan Frozen Foods Sdn Bhd, which has been in operation for more than three decades, said this was a markedly different experience from the MCO period.
“We were struggling to keep up with the spike in demand for frozen meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, mutton and seafood. Despite the trying times, business was really good during that period.
“However, business has been anything but brisk even after the CMCO was announced. We actually posted a dip of more than 50 per cent in sales during this past week,” he said.
Saravana said this could be attributed to people being cautious and unwilling to step out of their homes due to the high infection numbers.
Article by: New Straits Times
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