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'Food prices being monitored through AKHAP 2011'

Publish date: Mon, 04 Mar 2024, 06:15 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry refuted claims that it has not taken action against traders accused of deliberately raising the prices of raw food items.

Its Deputy Minister Fuziah Salleh said the current rise in food prices is driven by the country's high dependency on imported raw food items.

She said this situation continues to burden the people and force them to bear the consequences of the rising prices of goods.

She added that the ministry constantly monitors the matter through the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act (AKHAP) 2011, with traders facing action if they violated the act.

"The cost of living is calculated based on margin and markup. This means that if raw food items such as imported onions have a profit formula, they will be investigated.

"If (from the estimates made) there is an increase (that is not justified), we will issue notices.

"Then they need to show their entire costs. If the cost of raw materials is high, then there is no profiteering here," she said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

She was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) who wanted to know how effective AKHAP 2011 is in monitoring price increases.

Further commenting on the issue, Fuziah said the real problem is the country's continued dependence on imported raw food items.

"The country is still not self-sustaining. How long have we been independent, yet we still inherit this situation? Moreover, the government is currently harmonising salaries. Salaries do not increase, but the price of goods continue to rise.

"So, it is not that we are not controlling prices, this is a global phenomenon where prices of goods are rising. For example, India refuses to export rice (to our country) and, at the same time, increases taxes for exporting onions."

When answering the original question about the number of traders prosecuted under AKHAP 2011 throughout last year, Fuziah said a total of 5,904 cases involving such offenses were recorded, with fines and penalties totaling RM1,466,600.

She said AKHAP 2011 is still relevant to the current situation.

"... It (AKHAP 2011) is a necessity because this act is the only mechanism to protect consumers from sellers who take advantage of them, are unethical and prioritise excessive profits."

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