Indian Muslim restaurants vow not to increase prices

DESPITE the rise in the price of imported white rice, the Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association stated that its members will not be randomly increasing meal prices. Its president Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said both quality and quantity of the meals at its members’ restaurants will remain unaffected, stating that the outlets will absorb the increase in costs.

Speaking to FMT, Jawahar said local rice supply was insufficient to meet the needs of the association’s restaurants, reiterating that members would have to take a small hit on profit margins.

“If they were recording profit margins of 10%, the price hike for imported rice would see it dip to 8%. But we won’t be making losses,” he said.

He also said that the association accepted the explanation of Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) for the price adjustment.

Given that large numbers of people especially those in the B40 segment, are dependent on these Indian Muslim restaurants for daily sustenance, FocusM applauds this move.

Given that the increasing costs of living are affecting many Malaysian households, it will take positive action not just from the government but from the private sector as well to help alleviate the hardships.

While the government’s Menu Rahmah programme of affordable meals has been met with a lukewarm response, the association’s declared intention to keep meal prices stable is a step in the right direction, given past incidences of profiteering whenever there is a slight increase in raw material prices.

FocusM believes that more outlets should participate in the Menu Rahmah programme with greater incentives provided to help traders and restauranteurs do their part in keeping prices down.

Tax incentives and lowered licence fees, albeit on an ad hoc basis, could be introduced to get more restaurants on board. The Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association can urge more of its members to participate in this well-intentioned programme.

Given that the Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association has 12,000 members and a very visible presence in the domestic F&B landscape, it may want to take the lead in introducing initiatives of its own. These may include setting up low-cost food stalls at bazaars or in low-income areas to help the rakyat overcome the price hike in essential food items.

However, FocusM is not expecting a discount on nasi kandar laden with luxury items such as squid and seafood but rather more reasonable prices on a basic meal of rice, meat, gravy, and vegetables. – Sept 6, 2023


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