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Off Dry Taps And Selfish Traders
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Dry taps at various districts in the Klang Valley has affected the daily routine of thousands of people.
And with the water rationing exercise starting in stages from today in some parts of Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat, Sepang and even Kuala Lumpur means affected households have to store water as much as possible for their daily consumption.
This inadvertently has created a run for buckets, basins and jerry cans and therefore traders found it fit to capitalise on the spike in demand by selling them at higher prices.
PRICE HIKE OF PLASTIC CONTAINERS
A survey conducted by Bernama in several outlets selling plastic products in Cheras found some traders have capitalised on the misery of residents already affected by dry taps.
A 60 liter water container with cover is being sold up to RM59 whereas at hypermarkets the same container is available at RM12.40. The same goes to the plastic basin, where some outlets have raised the prices to RM129.90 when the same item is available at RM49.90 in fixed price outlets.
A resident at Taman SPPK Bukit Cheras, an area affected by water cut, and only want to be known as Lina lamented that traders have taken advantage of the situation as there has been a scramble for buckets and plastic containers to store water.
She said the affected residents have no choice but to buy them at exorbitant prices.
She had to spend RM100 to purchase two 60 liter containers at a shop in Taman Bukit Anggerik, Cheras, despite realising she was overpaying for the containers.
"The trader quoted RM59 for a container. After bargaining over the price I was offered RM50 per container. Though I was not satisfied, do I have a choice?
Moreover, I have to act fast to store water before the taps dry up," she said.
STERN ACTION ON UNSCRUPULOUS TRADERS
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Enforcement (Development), Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said stern action could be taken against those who profit on consumers agony.
Though such containers were not price controlled items and no ceiling price has been set, he said action could be taken under the Price Control Act and Ant Profiteering Act 2011, if it was proven there has been excessive elements of profiteering.
"Action can also be taken if traders fail to put price tags on their merchandise," he said to Bernama.
Iskandar Halim noted that the enforcement division would conduct spot checks, especially in areas facing water shortage to prevent traders from taking advantage of the situation.
"So far we have yet to receive complaints on the rise in prices but we will get ready our strategies to tackle this problem... we don't want consumers to be victimised by unscrupulous traders," he said, adding that consumers have to be wise in comparing prices.
USE YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS
Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations' (FOMCA) Deputy President stressed that consumers should not fear in exercising their rights and therefore should boycott errant traders or report them to the authorities.
He said traders taking advantage of people's misery is nothing new.
Muhammad Sha'ani recalled the same thing happened during the haze episode where the face masks were sold up to RM10 per piece, when in the ordinary days it would only costs 50 sen or available for free.
He also proposed that each household should make sure they have enough containers to store water even when not affected by water cuts to prevent last minute buying that triggers traders to take advantage of the situation.
CARRY ON YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
Meanwhile, the ministry's former parliamentary secretary Datuk Seri Tan Chai Ho, who was once dubbed as the 'water hero', for his effort in helping Bandar Tun Razak residents buy water containers in 1998, urged the government to do the same this time around.
Tan, who was then the Bandar Tun Razak Parliament Member sold 6,000 plastic containers at ex-factory price supplied by a factory in Ipoh, Perak.
"The elected representative at the affected areas should go to the ground to help the constituents undergoing hardship," he said.
Plastic item manufacturers are encouraged to carry out their corporate social responsibility by offering plastic containers at reasonable prices to help those affected by water shortages, he added.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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