Government looking to bring down price of face masks, decision tomorrow

Surgery. — DayakDaily file pic // Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, March 22: The federal government is looking to reduce the selling prices of face masks in the country.

Following feedback from the public, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the prime minister will make a decision on the selling price of face mask soon.

“We have agreed that the ceiling price of face masks which is fixed at RM2 per piece was too high.

“And the prime minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) also disagreed with that price.

“Tomorrow morning, we will be discussing that in a meeting so the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs as well as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) can review that matter.

“We want the price (of face masks) to be lower and if possible, the price which was set at the initial stage,” he said during a press conference at Putrajaya.

Ismail Sabri outlined that the federal government has already abolished import duties for face masks and thus, there is no excuse by businesses to charge high prices for the item.

He disclosed that the federal government will make the final decision on the selling price of face masks tomorrow (March 23).

He added the federal government has assigned the Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (Margma) the task of dealing with the supply of face masks, rubber gloves and certain equipment to combat Covid-19.

In the meantime, Ismail Sabri noted the federal government has ordered 10 million pieces of face masks from China which is being shipped into the country.

He explained that the priority will be distributing face masks to frontliners who are battling the Covid-19 pandemic such as hospital workers, police, armed forces personnel, People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members and so forth.

Ismail Sabri added the federal government is not ruling out ordering more face masks if the need arises.

On another note, Ismail Sabri observed that there are certain quarters who have yet to comply with the movement control order (MCO).

He noted some consumers are still going to the supermarket to buy things in large groups and people are buying groceries at the wet market in a crowded manner.

He advised the public to practice self-distancing by keeping a distance of at least one metre from another person when buying groceries or shopping for essential goods.

Among those attending the press conference were Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin who is also a senior ministers. — DayakDaily