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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Eating out to cost more after subsidy, ceiling price removal


Restaurant owners say they are being forced to increase prices as the cost of ingredients has shot up. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Prices at eateries are set to rise following a government announcement that it will remove subsidies and ceiling prices for certain items from July 1.

Food vendors interviewed by FMT said their operations would not be profitable if they did not increase their prices.

Restaurant owner Ali Abu Bakar said he was being forced to increase prices for the first time in seven years, adding that his business had been making minimal profits from covering inflated costs over the past few months.

He said he had already increased the prices of chicken and fried dishes such as mee goreng by 50 sen since suppliers had increased their prices.

“We have tried to keep prices as low as possible to be competitive and to make it affordable for the people who come here, who are mostly from the middle and low-income groups, but basically we have no choice,” he said

Mohammad Aslam, who has stalls selling rojak and cendol across the city, said he would be increasing his prices again after Hari Raya Haji.

“We thought we could maintain our prices. But things have only got worse, what with the supply shortage in oil and chicken,” he said.

Aslam said he used to sell rojak for RM5 a serving, but had twice raised the price by 50 sen and would now have to raise it again.

He said there was “no point” in using cheap ingredients or stinging on ingredients because the quality of the food would be affected.

Jeremy Tan said mixed rice stalls had been hit from nearly every side as the ingredients used, except for rice, had increased in price.

He said that although customers had complained, vendors like him had no choice but to increase their prices.

“Our margin has been reduced since we can’t increase our prices by too much even though prices of ingredients and other stuff have been increasing exorbitantly,” he said.

The owner of a restaurant of more than 30 years, Ragavanan, said both food vendors and customers were victims.

“I’ve never increased prices on my own or on purpose. If I see other eateries increase their prices, then I will increase mine,” he said.

On Tuesday, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Alexander Nanta Linggi announced the removal of ceiling prices for chicken and chicken eggs, which were fixed on Feb 5, effective July 1.

Subsidies on cooking oil in bottled packaging will also be removed from July 1, but 1kg polybags of cooking oil will continue to be priced at RM2.50. - FMT

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