Drinks not a controlled item, says Chong

KUCHING, Sept 6: The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs does not impose any ceiling or control price on drinks as they are not controlled items.

Its deputy minister, Chong Chieng Jen, said the ministry and government’s general policy was to allow ‘free trade’ as this would result in the lowering of the prices of drinks.

He then shared findings from a survey conducted by Democratic Action Party (DAP) members on the prices of six types of drinks — Kopi O, Kopi Peng, Milo O, Milo Peng, Teh O and Teh Peng — sold at 11 coffee shops here that were picked at random after the implementation of the Sales and Services Tax (SST).

The price of Kopi O ranged from RM1.30 to RM2.08, Kopi Peng (RM1.80-RM2.60), Milo O (RM2.20–RM3.02), Milo Peng (RM2.50–RM3.21), Teh O (RM1.30–RM2.08) and Teh Peng (RM1.80–RM2.60).

Of the 11 coffee shops, only two charged service tax.

Comparison table of the prices of certain drinks at 11 coffee shops in Kuching.

“My purpose of showing this survey finding is to share with the public as everyone has the right to such knowledge. Hence, consumers can compare, decide and choose which coffee shops they want to patronise,” Chong said today after visiting Pico Food Industries near Padawan.

As the ministry does not control the prices of drinks, he said it was, therefore, not an offence for some coffee shops to charge more.

“Unless absolutely necessary, the ministry will not impose ceiling prices. However, rest be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation.

“Meanwhile, our officers will continue to check. What we have at our disposal is the Anti-Profiteering Act to prevent any party from taking advantage of SST,” Chong said. — DayakDaily