By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 25: The price of children’s face masks, which come in smaller sizes than adult face masks, cannot be lowered due to material losses incurred in production.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi explained that the manufacturers could not deduct the cost as there was wastage of materials as the difference in size between children and adult face masks was negligible.
“As such, the price of children’s face masks is the same as the adult’s even though the size is smaller.
“However, we are still and will continue to negotiate with industry players to reach an agreement for the benefit of all consumers,” he told the Dewan Rakyat in responding to Cha Kee Chin (Rasah-PH) today.
Alexander also reassured that the ceiling price for three-ply surgical or medical face masks will be further lowered in the coming months as reviews and checks were consistently being carried out.
He informed that the face mask supply is currently sufficient in the country as the number of manufacturers have increased from 6 to 10.
“Currently, the 10 manufacturers are producing 1.5 million masks per day to ensure adequate supply for the domestic market.
“I was also made to understand that, in October, four more factories will be in operation to produce face masks,” he said.
As wearing of face masks was made compulsory in public and crowded places beginning August, the ceiling price for three-ply face masks has been revised to RM1 per piece for retail and RM0.95 for wholesale, effective Aug 15.
In responding to Ahmad Johnie Zawawi (Igan-GPS), Nanta reported that from Jan 2020 until Aug 17, 2020, the ministry had carried out 50,778 checks throughout the country comprising wholesalers and retailers for face masks.
“As a result of the operations, actions have been taken on 57 cases with a total seizure value at RMRM537,235.40.
“Out of the cases, 42 actions were taken under Section 11 of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 for selling above the ceiling price, while three (cases) were for fraud of sale of face masks online,” he added.
Nanta thus called on the cooperation of all parties to lodge a complaint or channel information to the ministry.—DayakDaily