SEPANG: A total of ten items have been placed under the price control scheme for Ramadan, which is expected to begin at the end of the month.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the unprecedented move is aimed at protecting consumers against profiteers during the holy month.
The controlled items include groundnuts, mung beans, chicken eggs ranging from grade A to C, whole and grated coconut, fine and coarse sugar, and wheat flour.
Zainuddin added that the price control scheme will be enforced from May 22 until May 31.
“The scheme will be enforced for a period of 10 days; five days before and five days after (the start of) Ramadan.
“However, the ministry will conduct checks to prevent profiteering throughout the fasting month,” he told reporters here today.
Hamzah said the move was made after taking into consideration the public’s request for the ministry to control the prices of food items during Ramadan.
He said the price control scheme will also benefit small traders involved in the food business during Ramadan.
“The reason why we are introducing the scheme is to ensure consumers will get quality products at competitive prices. Traders are also encouraged to offer cheaper prices,” he added.
Hamzah said the traders are also required to use pink price tags on the ten controlled items.
“Traders who fail to comply with the stipulated prices will be liable to a maximum fine of RM100,000 and imprisonment not exceeding three years.
“Errant companies, meanwhile, can be fined RM500,000 or a receive a compound fine of up to RM50,000.”
Hamzah said traders who failed to place pink price tags on the controlled items can be fined up to RM10,000 in court (or imposed a compound fine of up to RM5,000), while companies can be fined up to RM20,000 in court (or a compound fine of up to RM10,000).
For abuses pertaining to wheat flour supply, he said, action can be taken under the Control of Supplies Act 1961, which carries a fine of RM100,000 for an individual and RM250,000 for a company.
The scheme is implemented under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.
Consumers are encouraged to call the ministry’s toll-free line 1-800-886-800, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if they find traders selling the items above the price ceiling.