KUCHING, Aug 27: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Batu Kitang branch chairman Abdul Aziz Isa opined that the government should reduce the price of face masks in view of the mandatory mask-wearing policy and to avoid exploitation by traders.
Aziz in a press statement today, said the high price ceiling will expose the consumers to exploitation by the traders, especially when the Health Ministry had made a recommendation to the National Security Council to extend the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) beyond August 31.
“To the majority of Sarawakians earning a below-average income and falls under the B40 category, it is undoubtedly a heavy burden. What more to say for those who are living from hand to mouth, this is definitely a heavy burden to low-income families.
“In a worse scenario, if they fail to comply, they will be imposed with a RM1,000 fine per person,” he said.
According to Aziz, since June this year, the global supply of face masks had adjusted sufficiently to cater to the increasing demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, he said, the costs for production for facemasks have normalized to the pre-Covid time, and the previous price ceiling of RM0.80 per piece of 3-ply face masks can give traders very comfortable profit margins to operate.
He also pointed that even though the costs of production for face masks have lowered tremendously to pre-Covid-19 times, with the government setting the price ceiling from RM1.20 to RM1.00 per piece, it gives the impression that RM1.00 is a reasonable retail price notwithstanding the huge profit margin with this price.
“If the current government wants to prove to the public that they can be better than the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, they should have further lowered the ceiling price below RM0.70.
“By doing so, it shows that the current government put the people first. If not, then it just goes to show that the current government lacks political will and only favouring the capitalist rather than the people as a whole. This is because the current price ceiling is detrimental to the interest of consumers in general,” he added.—DayakDaily.