Consumers body gives thumbs up to price cap

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KUCHING: The Consumers Voice Association of Sarawak (COVAS) has welcomed the RM34.70 ceiling price for 5kg bottled pure palm cooking oil for Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan effective Aug 8, similar to Peninsular Malaysia.

Its president Michael Tiong said it was a timely and wise move by the government, especially during challenging times where prices of various goods and services have been increasing steeply.

“This is a relief for consumers, knowing that there is a maximum price set for the 5kg bottled cooking oil starting next week. Thus, consumers do not have to worry about cooking oil prices skyrocketing (even) if the supply is disrupted,” he said.

“This is positive news, which can slightly ease the financial burden of the people, especially the B40 families,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi confirmed on Tuesday that the price of 5kg bottled cooking oil would be capped at RM34.70.

He said the mechanism to determine the ceiling price was based on the simulated sales price of pure cooking oil at retail level, taking into consideration current crude palm oil trends in the global market.

Apart from that, the price would be fixed on a monthly basis, where each month’s ceiling price would be calculated based on the previous month’s price of crude palm oil.

Although COVAS welcomed the mechanism, Tiong said it would be necessary to look into the issue where some unscrupulous traders who would take advantage of the new price control mechanism.

He hoped the new price control could alleviate the financial burden of the people and stop traders from manipulating the prices to their advantage.

Tiong also advised consumers to exercise prudent spending given that global inflation was inevitable, where everybody was striving to survive, including traders, in light of the current volatile economy.

The government removed subsidies on bottled cooking oil but instituted price controls on July 1. Before that, a maximum price of RM29.70 was set on 5kg bottles, RM6.70 for 1kg, RM12.70 for 2kg) and RM18.70 (3kg).

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who chairs the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation, said pure palm-based cooking oil in 5kg bottles were now being sold for between RM39 and RM42 each.

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