Nanta (left) with Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng inspecting the price of cooking oil and sugar during their visit at one of the supermarkets in Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi urges the people here to avoid panic buying, and hoarding of goods and essentials in the light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak in the state.

In his statement, Nanta assured the people that the current severity of the situation have yet to warrant those actions.

“There have been some reports of a bit of panic buying of goods including masks and sanitisers as well as certain essentials.

“Please do not hoard and waste masks. If we only buy what we need, there should be quite enough to go around for everyone.

“The problem is availability of these items are limited due to some irresponsible people buying the items in bulks and hoarding it. We hope this will not happen anywhere else as we had not reached that level in severity over the Covid-19 outbreak here,” he said in a press conference after visiting a supermarket at The Spring shopping mall here, yesterday.

In addressing a viral case in social media of people panic buying at a few supermarkets here, Nanta said the situation was purely coincidental where the supermarkets were offering good deals.

The fact was that people were not panic buying. Instead, they were attracted to a special sale where big discounts were offered by the supermarkets. Hence, a lot of people came over for the sale,” he explained.

Nanta (seated centre) flanked by Sim (seated left) and Wee, speaks at a press conference. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

Meanwhile, Nanta assured that the government is taking proactive and positive steps to ensure that enough food items and other essential like masks and sanitisers are available to the public.

He added that in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in Putrajaya, his ministry had been instructed to look into the situation on how to increase the availability of masks.

“At the moment, the government is giving the highest amount of attention to ensure supplies and prices of all goods are available at no increased prices.

“We (KPDNHEP) will make sure that our enforcement officers will go everywhere to ensure that there is no issue where sellers are taking advantage of the current situation,” he said.

Nanta also reminded that consumers must be wise in dealing with the current situation and avoid purchasing items at an unusual high price.