Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
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Middlemen cause of higher prices: Jainab

Published on: Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tawau: Wet market traders in the district are forced to sell their goods at ceiling prices due the presence of middlemen, said Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

She said traders at supermarkets were selling items such as chicken and eggs cheaper by one or two sen than the wet market because they do not go through a middleman to get supplies.

In fact, she said, the price of controlled items during the festive season in Kota Kinabalu was much lower than here, based on stiffer competition and the bigger number of players, and that this debunks the public's perception that goods here are cheaper.

Towards this end, she would be going to the villages to work with local leaders to create Borneo Mart which was recently launched in Kota Kinabalu, in an effort to reduce the role of middlemen and to give the public the opportunity to enjoy subsidised prices.

Jainab said she did not want middlemen to profit directly when they sell to foreigners, for example, through irresponsible activities like smuggling of subsidised goods which the Government has meant specially for Malaysians.

She said this to the media after monitoring the price of controlled items in Tawau Tanjung Market, Milimewa Superstore and Servay Supermarket in Eastern Plaza, here, Saturday.

In the meantime, Jainab also called on consumers to monitor prices and always make sure they know their rights as a consumer and to not be fooled by misleading prices.

She also reminded the traders themselves to be responsible and comply with the price control scheme for the 18 items during the festive season.

Asked about the monitoring of smuggling in Tawau given its proximity to the border, Jainab said her ministry was trying its best to deal with the matter.

She said it would require cooperation and shared responsibility with the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism with 207 personnel in Sabah, community leaders, consumers and traders themselves.

"We have given an awareness briefing to consumers to jointly monitor the situation...this is where honesty is required, especially among the traders," she said.