Rural traders to face stern action for hiking prices of seven controlled items

KUCHING, April 21: With over a thousand undercover agents nationwide, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs will ensure traders in rural areas will not indiscriminately hike up the prices of seven controlled goods after the implementation of the Rural Price Standardising Programme since April 1 this year.

Its deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen warned that stern action would be taken against traders if found to be committing the offence under the Price Control Act and Anti-Profiteering Act.

“The ministry has over a thousand agents monitoring prices of the seven controlled goods in the rural areas under this programme all over Malaysia,” he said.

The seven controlled goods or commodities that fall under this programme are rice, flour, sugar, cooking oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), RON 95 petrol and diesel, Chong revealed.

He said it was not because of the cost of these seven commodities that was high, but the transportation cost to rural areas which pushed prices up.

He noted the difficulty for transporters to distribute these goods to rural areas especially areas with poor road access, and thus the transportation cost was high.

Chong warns rural traders not to indiscriminately hike up prices of seven controlled goods as the government has been subsidising transportation cost since April 1, 2019.

Now with the programme, Chong said the federal government would be subsidising all transportation cost of these goods to rural areas.

This year, he said the federal government had allocated RM140 million to subsidise transportation cost of these goods for the programme.

“More than 90 per cent of the allocation is for Sabah and Sarawak, and for Sarawak alone about RM80 million.

“The programme tender has been awarded through open tender for transporters and implemented since April 1 this year,” said Chong. — DayakDaily