Parents shocked over hike in prices of school supplies

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) has warned traders against deliberately raising prices of school supplies.

Its enforcement director, Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin, said the ministry conducted checks at supermarkets and shops and detected the increase in prices of school supplies, namely school uniforms.

“We have carried out operations to check prices across the country to ensure traders do not increase the price of school supplies indiscriminately.

“We will investigate the cause of the (price) increase to determine whether it can be accepted or not,” he said when contacted by Bernama, here, today.

“If they are found to have taken the opportunity to raise prices of goods because children are going back to school, we will then take action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.”

He was commenting on a newspaper report today that claimed parents were unhappy with the increase in prices of school supplies by up to 30%.

According to the report, if previously parents allocated about RM100 and RM150 for a child, this year they would have to fork out more than RM200 to buy uniforms, shoes, bags and stationery.

Roslan said the school uniforms saw a huge increase in price while bags and school supplies were sold at the same price or slightly higher compared with last year.

“We will investigate whether the increase is due to the brand and imported goods,” he said.

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chairman Nadzim Johan said PPIM had received more than 60 complaints from parents in relation to the price increase of 30-40% in school supplies since last month.

Nadzim also encouraged cooperatives, including school cooperatives, to buy such items in bulk and sell them at reasonable prices.

National PTA Collaborative Council president Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Ali Hassan advised parents to adopt a “recycling” culture of items among their schoolgoing children.

“In the current situation, we should not be wasteful and parents should not give in to their children’s demand to get new items for the new school session.

“Teach them to understand the situation and learn to use items which are still in good condition,” he said.

In the meantime, parents interviewed by Bernama said the price hike was a burden, especially for those who have several schoolgoing children.

Normala Ali, 40, said she spent almost RM1,500 for three children who are in primary and secondary schools, adding that she had allocated RM500 each for school uniform, shoes and bags for primary and religious school sessions.

“And that doesn’t include the more expensive secondary school supplies plus spending money, in addition to books and examination fees,” said a government officer who has six children.

Shuhaila Mohd Kamal, 35, another government officer who has four children, said she needed at least RM500 for the purchase of uniforms and school supplies for her two children.

“It is an experience in itself going shopping for children’s school supplies. The uniform plus bag, stationery and shoes cost almost RM200 and that doesn’t include books and other stuff,” she said.