KUCHING (Feb 9): The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) is mobilising a total of 176 enforcement officers and 101 price monitoring officers statewide to conduct inspections and to ensure compliance with the Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme (SHMMP) for Chinese New Year, said KPDNHEP Sarawak enforcement chief Mogan Arumugam.
In a statement today, he said the officers will be visiting locations that are the focus of the public, such as markets, farmers’ markets and supermarkets.
“These measures reflect ongoing efforts to protect consumers from excessive profit-taking activities by unethical traders during the festive season,” he said, after the ministry had conducted a walkabout at Everrise Penrissen here earlier.
The SHMMP for Chinese New Year started on Monday and will last through the festive season until Feb 16.
KPDNHEP has listed 16 items under the scheme specifically for Chinese New Year, which was announced by its minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi recently.
The items are live chicken, standard chicken, super chicken, Grades A, B and C chicken eggs, imported round cabbage, red chili, tomato, Chinese garlic, Chinese potatoes, white pomfret, large white prawns, live pigs, pork (belly) and pork (meat and fat).
Mogan said that during the walkabout, it was noted that all the controlled items sold did not exceed the control prices.
“In fact, we found that some controlled items are sold below the maximum price. This concept is in line with the government’s intention to set maximum prices. Traders are encouraged to sell goods at prices lower than the maximum price if the prices of obtaining them were lower.
“However, KPDNHEP Sarawak will always take the effort to stabilise the prices of essential goods, especially when the people are celebrating festivals,” he said.
Mogan added that the walkabout was to educate the public about the government’s measures in dealing with the cost of living and rising prices of goods.
He reminded that strict action will be taken against any trader who sells controlled items exceeding the amount of the maximum price set by the government as well as those who fail to place special pink price tags on these controlled items, to differentiate it from other items.
Any trader who commits the offences will be prosecuted and penalised under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.
For the offence of selling controlled items exceeding maximum price, if found guilty, the individuals couldbe fined up to RM100,000 or jailed for not more than three years or both; or compounded up to RM50,000, while companies could be fined up to RM500,000 or compounded up to RM250,000.
For the offence of failing to place a pink price tag on a price-controlled item,
individuals could be fined by the court up to RM10,000 or compounded up to RM5,000, while companies could be fined up to RM20,000 or compounded up to RM10,000.
Additionally, Mogan said that during the course of implementation of SHMMP for all festivals in 2020, KPDNHEP Sarawak had inspected 14,731 premises and produced 37 cases.
Three were found to have sold above maximum price, 26 did not display the pink price tags and eight had failure to display the price list of the controlled items.
“The total seizure was valued at RM2,524.70 with total compounds of RM8,250,” he said.
Consumers can channel complaints to the ministry through various means, including email at email@example.com, its call centre at 1800-886-800, via its smartphone app Ez ADU, via WhatsApp message to 019- 2794317 or by calling the state’s Enforcement Command Centre (ECC) at 082-466052.
Source: Borneo Post