`Prices of a number of food items in supermarkets/hypermarkets have dropped’

A file pic of Chong (right) checking the price of goods at Everrise Supermarket.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Jan 19: An observation by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) indicates that, in general, prices of food items in supermarkets and hypermarkets here have decreased by 70 per cent.

Its Deputy Minister, Chong Chieng Jen, said his ministry was always concerned about the prices of goods, especially when a festive season nears.

“So, to monitor, we did a comparison statewide and in Kuching. The ministry took prices of selected food items from 10 supermarkets and hypermarkets on Jan 1, 2019, and compared them with prices on Jan 1, 2018.

“From 60 per cent of the food items selected, the figures indicated that the prices of food items have gone down by 70 per cent, while the prices of 20 per cent of selected food items have gone up by varying percentages,” he told a press conference at the KPDNHEP office here today.

The supermarkets and hypermarkets involved are Boulevard Hypermarket, E-Mart Supermarket Matang, E-mart Supermarket Batu Kawa, Everrise 4th Miles, H&L, Giant Hypermarket Petra Jaya, Giant Hypermarket Tabuan, Servay EG Mall at King Centre, Servay at Summer Mall in Kota Samarahan and Upwell Gita.

Chong said the ministry used their `Price Catcher’ programme to obtain these prices daily from each of these supermarkets and hypermarkets.

“In each of the supermarket, we took a sample of prices from 90 over food items, and the largest decrease I noticed is White Onions, from RM4.99 to RM2.99 per kg, while Indian Red Rose Onions from RM6.99 to RM2.99 per kg, a drop of 40 to 50 per cent.

“We will closely monitor the prices of goods in these supermarkets and hypermarkets, especially in view of the coming Chinese New Year, to make sure there are no profiteering activities in the market,”

Chong revealed that many mini markets had opened over the last six months, which also provide tough but healthy competition to the existing supermarkets and hypermarkets. This will drive prices down, which ultimately benefits consumers.

“When there are more players in the market, then, generally, the prices will come down, especially now there is no GST (Good and Services Tax). Come this Chinese New Year, there will be more price controls on certain items.” — DayakDaily