Spot checks on prices at 4,000 shops, starting in Penang

Spot checks will be made at shopping areas such as markets and souvenir shops to guard against profiteering, a domestic trade ministry official said. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Spot checks are to be carried out on 4,000 premises at tourist centres in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020, the domestic trade ministry’s enforcement division said today.

Enforcement director Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said the operation, dubbed Ops Indah, would begin in Penang as the state receives 1.9 million visitors annually.

“Enforcement officers will be stationed at the focal point of shopping areas, such as wet markets, pasar tani (farmers’ market), supermarkets and souvenir shops, to conduct inspection and monitoring,” he said.

Ops Indah is aimed at protecting consumers from unethical traders seeking excessive profits at tourist centres. Officers will ensure that traders display price tags on food items and that the food content is labelled, as is required of them.

“Compliance is necessary to prevent traders from confusing customers, while ensuring tourists are not fleeced by traders dealing in imitation products,” he said.

Iskandar said the operation would be carried out from time to time across the country until the end of the year.

He advised consumers to lodge consumer-related complaints through the right channels so that the enforcement officers could investigate the matter and take action in the event of any price distortion.

Traders who fail to display prices could face fines of up to RM50,000, or be jailed for up to two years, or both. They could also be issued a RM25,000 compound fine notice. Companies can be fined up to RM100,000 and issued a compound fine of RM50,000.