Cooperative startups may lower food cost, not by 'boycotting' premises, says Fomca

23 Jan 2023 03:53pm
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason.
SHAH ALAM - Experts say Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli’s suggestion to boycott premises that fail to lower prices may not solve the rising cost of food.

This comes after Rafizi on Saturday asked consumers to be more proactive in their response by “boycotting” restaurants that sell food at unreasonable prices.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason said that the government must consider long-term food security and stability to solve the issue.

“Prices have gone up everywhere, not just in Malaysia and consumers only have two choices, either to cook or to buy from outside,” he told Sinar Daily.

Marimuthu said there are many ways to tackle the issue.

“The government must encourage youhts to go into agriculture, farming and promote agriculture," he said.

Citing Japan as an example, he said there is a housewife cooperative that buys milk in bulk and they share the purchase so that the prices go down as farmers are assured of continous business.

“You must understand the consumption pattern in Malaysia has changed, and more people eat outside because they work. They find cooking to be a hassle and parents with two kids will buy food from outside," he added.

Marimuthu also explained that Malaysia does not have laws on processed or cooked food.
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“You must understand we don't have a law for processed food, for example, at a stall, I can buy nasi goreng at RM7 a plate. Restaurants may sell it at RM12 and RM18 at a 5-star hotel.

"So how do you handle all this?," he added.

Economist Dr Kuperan Viswanathan said a boycott would not solve the problem, especially when consumers have to buy essential food.

“Boycotting normally doesn't help because people have to buy essential food. How are they going to boycott basic items like food and daily items?," he said.

Kuperan further said that a boycott is only effective if consumers are presented with alternatives, further saying that consumers should highlight and bring attention to overcharging premises so that the authorities could take action.

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