Mask maker calls for ceiling price lower than RM1

Masks were sold at 20 sen per piece before Covid-19 struck, says a manufacturer.

PETALING JAYA: A manufacturer of face masks has urged the government to consider bringing down the ceiling price of the three-ply variety to a rate lower than the recently announced RM1 a piece.

Haminuddin Hamid, CEO of Ideal Healthcare, told FMT his company would still make a profit if the masks were sold at 60 sen per piece.

He said the raw materials were readily available locally and added that other companies too could make decent profits at prices lower than RM1.

He pointed out that Ideal Healthcare’s masks were sold at 20 sen per piece before Covid-19 struck.

He proposed that Putrajaya buy masks in bulk from local manufacturers and distribute them to people in the B40 income group, adding that this would discourage profiteering by mask importers.

Paul Selvaraj, chief executive of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, also said the government should look towards bringing down the ceiling price further.

He said the domestic trade ministry should find out the cost of production and adjust the price accordingly.

Malaysia Consumers Movement secretary-general Sukhdave Singh said he would support lowering the price, but added that Putrajaya must ensure fairness to manufacturers.

“It must be a win-win arrangement for all,” he told FMT. “There’s no use reducing the price by so much that manufacturers will stop producing.”

He urged Putrajaya to either subsidise the price or provide free masks to poor members of the public.

“To pay RM1.20 every day for a piece of face mask is burdensome,” he said. “For many, it may cost them their breakfast. Also, since wearing the masks is mandatory, many may be forced to reuse them to save money and this can be dangerous.”

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi told the Dewan Rakyat earlier that the ceiling price of three-ply face masks would be reduced from RM1.20 to RM1.

He also said Putrajaya would continue to reduce the price from time to time.