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'Outsiders' driving up Kunak seafood prices
Published on: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kunak: The price of fish sold in wet markets and roadside stalls here is differ markedly with some sold at inflated prices without proper control.

However, people still buy them even though there is no GST on basic food items such as fish.

Kunak Muslim Traders Association Chairman Sahing Taking said, over two weeks ago, fish prices rose sharply to RM10 per kilo for Tulai and Lumahan, while Tamban was sold at RM8 per kilo and Ikan Kayu at RM10 per kilo at the wet market and frozen produce shops here.

He said the situation had affected traders and small restaurants that relied heavily on fish.

"We at the traders' association such as hawkers and restaurant operators are also affected by the increase in fish prices in the market, but the prices of food items cannot be raised in order to keep our customers", Sahing told Daily Express.

According to Sahing, small traders had to face the situation where if food prices were raised, they faced "losing customers" and also the risk of being warned by the Domestic Trade Ministry if any reports were received.

"We are confused and the situation needs the attention of the relevant agencies, especially in the monitoring of prices on marine resources such as fish landed by fishing boats at the Kunak main jetty here.

According to Sahing, he received feedback from Kunak Fish Market traders there, that the price of fish increased sharply when it was landed at the Kunak jetty.

"That's why traders in the Wet Market are forced to raise prices," he said.

Sahing also found that many among the "middle men" who came to get fish from trawlers who land their catch at the Kunak jetty daily were outsiders.

"The middlemen or wholesalers come here to get sea produce and sell it outside the area with some sending it to Lahad Datu and Keningau," he said. It was also learnt that some of the middlemen were acting for buyers from Peninsula and Singapore, in view of easier air acess now.

Sahing was also a little surprised to learn that fish at the Tawau Market were cheaper, compared to the Kunak market where the marine resources are also easily available here from ships that land at the Jetty. - Ibrahim Tabir

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