Mild panic buying breaks out on news of Klang Valley lockdown

People queueing up for groceries and household supplies at a mall in Ara Damansara today after the government announced CMCO restrictions in the Klang Valley.

PETALING JAYA: Hordes of shoppers thronged supermarkets and sundry shops across the Klang Valley today after the government announced restrictions on movements in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya under a conditional movement control order (CMCO) beginning on Wednesday.

One shopper named Dave, who lives in Bandar Kinrara 3, said he was at his local supermarket buying dog food at around 5pm when he saw a huge number of people “swarming in” and throwing groceries into their trolleys.

“It was total chaos and simply unnecessary. Some husbands and wives had a trolley each,” he said, pointing out that “It’s not the end of the world”.

Dave said he could not understand such behaviour as Malaysians had already gone through previous stages of lockdowns, during which shops remained open selling groceries and essential items.

The Tesco and NSK supermarkets in Cheras were also crowded with people stocking up for the two-week CMCO period in the Klang Valley.

“The worst part is people were out with their kids and elderly parents, which is something they should have avoided. I don’t see people doing their part to reduce the numbers (of infections) like this.

Earlier today, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the CMCO would be in force from 12.01am on Oct 14 until Oct 27 because of the rise in Covid-19 cases in Klang, Petaling, Gombak and Hulu Langat.

Another shopper, business analyst Cassandra B, who lives in Ara Damansara, said she rushed to the nearest grocer as soon as she heard the news on social media.

She was worried that the shelves would be emptied quickly and that long queues would form in the supermarkets, which she endured when the national movement control order (MCO) was announced in March. “There were crowds at the supermarkets and essentials were snapped up before I could get to them,” she said.

She said she rushed to get her supplies today because she wanted to avoid going out unnecessarily. However, long queues were already forming behind her by the time she got to the grocers. “And there were more people coming in as I left.”

Cassandra said she had expected some type of lockdown would be imposed following the surge in cases and many of her friends had been slowly stocking up on groceries and household supplies. “It is unfortunate that our fears were realised.”

In Kajang, supermarket customer Amirah said she already saw long lines at the first supermarket she visited at 6pm. She had to visit two supermarkets to get basic items such as eggs, bread and rice, but was encouraged by the fact that there was less panic buying than when the MCO was first announced in March.

“I didn’t really see bulk buying like before, and I think everyone was not in the same competitive mode to buy things,” she told FMT. “I think everyone was just there because they felt they had to.”