KUCHING, Aug 4: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak has called upon the government to lower the ceiling price of 3-ply face masks from RM1.50 a piece to the pre-MCO price of RM0.80 per piece.
Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen highlighted that now since it is mandatory for everyone to use face masks in public places, he strongly opined that the current ceiling price of RM1.50 per piece was way too high and a burden to those of lower income.
“When I was the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) deputy minister, the ceiling price for a 3-ply face mask was only RM0.80 per piece (retail price).
“During the Movement Control Order (MCO), the current KPDNHEP minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi increased the price to RM1.50, which was a mistake itself,” Chong pointed out in a statement, today.
Nanta recently announced in Parliament that the ceiling price will be lowered to RM1.20 per piece with effect from Aug 15.
However, Chong asserted the proposed ceiling price of RM1.20 per piece is still way too high and not affordable for many.
“It was 50 per cent higher compared to the time when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was the government. The high price will expose the consumers to exploitation by the traders, especially given now that the government has made it mandatory to use face masks in public places,” Chong pointed out.
He also opined that while the current KPDNHEP Minister feels RM1.50 per piece of 3-ply facemask may not be expensive, but to many, it is a burden.
“Imagine a family of five, both husband and wife are working and with three school-going children. RM1.50 per piece per day would mean RM7.50 per day. Take 25 days in a month that they need to go out, that adds up to RM187.50 per month of additional household expenses.
“This is a heavy burden to the poor families, especially those who are living from hand-to-mouth. If they fail to comply, they will face a fine of RM1,000 per person,” he lamented. — DayakDaily