Ensure no food supply disruption to prevent panic buying, urges consumer body

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today made a surprise visit to check on the supply of food at a supermarket in Seri Kembangan, Kuala Lumpur. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A consumer group today urged the government to ensure there are no disruptions to the manufacture and supply of foodstuff and consumer goods.

The Malaysia Consumer Movement (MCM) said to avoid another round of panic buying, the government must work closely with industry players to ensure production was not affected in any way.

“Immediate intervention is required if there are any signs of shortages even if it requires an export ban on basic products,” MCM’s Ben Johl told FMT.

“Staying at home makes people consume more food, such as eggs, bread, canned food, noodles and other foodstuffs.”

Johl said capping the number of purchases might be an option if consumers continued to buy in bulk and hoarded necessities.

However, he urged the authorities to avoid this for now, in referring to a Pakatan Harapan proposal for the government and supermarkets to put a limit on purchases.

He preferred government enforcement teams to devote their efforts to identifying those hoarding supplies and creating an artificial shortage to hike up prices.

Johl said based on MCM’s findings, shopping queues were particularly long in the early morning.

“What the government can do is allow extended hours and also free movement of online deliveries. This will help reduce queues in supermarkets.”