THE Association of Muslim Restaurant Operators of Malaysia (PRESMA) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said the Government needs to help restaurant and eatery owners to get raw materials at a cheaper price.
“The (relevant) minister needs to be more concerned about helping restaurant traders to get supplies at reasonable and low prices by discussing with suppliers and wholesalers to overcome the problem,” Sinar Harian reported him as saying.
According to Jawahar, there has been no reduction in the price of goods on the market that would warrant a reduction in food prices at restaurants registered under PRESMA.
He also said there is an increase in rent and basic necessities that restaurant owners have to face, and that has added to the cost of operations.
While these claims are yet to be verified, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli denounced the attitude of certain restaurant and food stall operators. He said they are not lowering their prices despite the falling cost of raw ingredients.
Rafizi said it was vital for these businesses to cooperate in bringing down their prices in line with those of the ingredients to improve the people’s spending power and ease their financial burden.
He insisted that the prices of ingredients have shown a decline, but not the prices of food items prepared by restaurants and stalls, including takeaway food, which continue to rise.
“Prices of raw ingredients are declining and electricity rates are maintaining themselves, which should impact the overall prices of food on the market,” added Rafizi.
Nonetheless, he came under fire from former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said Rafizi should stop blaming restaurants for food price increases.
Rafizi advised consumers to avoid food outlets that charged unreasonable prices, and Ismail rejected this criticism.
Moreover, Ismail, who is also the former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister stated that he had read in the media that if food prices rose, these outlets should be boycotted.
“Boycotting restaurant operators will only burden them, and it doesn’t help the public. If restaurant operators are buying raw materials at a high cost, the government must ensure these prices are reduced to help them sell food at an affordable price to benefit the public,” said Ismail. — Jan 25, 2023
Main photo credit: The Edge Markets