Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Three-fold rise in prices of items at KK Central Mart

Published on: Friday, January 10, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Prices of food items have increased three folds at the Central Market here, with majority of the vendors blaming bad weather and increased fuel price for the steep hike.

A vegetable trader said he used to buy a pack of vegetables for RM4 but had to pay RM12 on Wednesday for the same amount of vegetables.

"The wholesaler did not give any reason why it costs so much.

I think it must have something to do with the increased price of fuel.

It could be the weather also. I have no trouble getting my usual quota of vegetables but the price is outrageous.

"I have no choice but to sell it at the same price of RM2 a bundle.

But I have to make some profit, too, so it is a smaller bundle than before," he said.

A homemaker, Faridah from Kepayan, said she realised food prices are getting higher but thinks they are still reasonable.

"I don't feel too burdened by it and I can still afford to buy them, but maybe not as much as before. It is understandable because all other prices have also gone up, so I have no qualms about paying the extra ringgit," she said.

At the fish market, most of the fishmongers cited bad weather as the reason for low fish supply at the market.

"Not many dare enough to go out in this weather.

Sure, the catch may be better, but we don't want to brave the high waves.

So, as you can see, not many fish are sold nowadays, and even those sold, because of the demands, consumers are still willing to pay," said a fishmonger.

A kilogramme of tamban fish, normally sold between RM3 and RM5, is now sold between RM8 and RM12 per kg. Prawns of different varieties may fetch up to RM35 per kg. The only good news is that crabs are aplenty and sold between RM8 and RM10 per kg.

"It's crab season and we have many suppliers selling us crabs at low prices. There are also plenty of supplies of cockles and clams sold at normal price of RM10 per kg," said another vendor.

A government worker, Kui Chin, said she found the prices of fish ridiculously high.

"I have no choice but to buy them. We still have to eat.

I understand the weather plays the role too for the short supply of fish in the market. But other items are also on the rise.

Everything is expensive nowadays," she sighed.

A Chinese businessman who owns a restaurant said he only goes to the Central Market for supplies because food items are cheaper there.

"But nowadays, I think, most of the prices have gone up.

My workers, some of them, don't even want to buy fresh fish from the market anymore and have turned to canned food because they are cheaper.

"The Government must do its job better to protect the consumers from being cheated by traders. They (the traders) are giving us all sorts of stories to justify their price hike. We also have families to feed.

This is totally unfair," he said.

The prices of poultry produce, however, are still within the price ceiling set by Federal Agricultural and Marketing Authority (Fama) at RM9.60 per kilogramme.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman announced that the State Cabinet has decided to form a committee headed by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad to monitor the exorbitant hikes in the prices of goods and services in the State.

Musa said the move was made after receiving reports on unjustifiable increases in prices of certain food items, believed to be the work of unscrupulous middlemen.