KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 – Malaysians can expect to pay more for mamak food and traditional Chinese medicine earlier this year as owners say they cannot absorb rising commodity prices.
Popular food and drink prices at mamak outlets like teh tarik, Milo, nasi lemak, roti canai, thosai, chapati and mee goreng may increase by 10-20 sen, or 10%, after December 30. Malaysiakini reported today.
Malaysian Association of Muslim Restaurant Owners (Presma) chairman Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said restaurants in the Klang Valley are likely to charge a 10% price, to cover 30% increases in material costs raw.
“We have been able to maintain our prices for more than three years. Presma is perhaps the only association that has asked its members not to increase their prices before December 30.
“But we will definitely impose an increase by next year, at a reasonable pace. We will minimize our increase,” Jawahar said.
Presma has some 9,000 registered members nationwide.
Along with more expensive products, Jawahar said the food and beverage industry is struggling with labor shortages, forcing employers to shell out higher wages to hire staff, thereby increasing overhead costs.
The Malaysian Association of Indian Restaurant Owners (Primas), which has 1,500 members, said restaurants had raised the prices of food and drink sold on their premises after the prices of ingredients and produce they needed increased by 50 to 100%.
Primas VP C Krishnan said some restaurants had raised prices by 10%, from 10 sen to 30 sen, which is unlikely to have any real impact on consumers who understand the increase prices.
“A carton of 48 cans of condensed milk cost RM107 a year ago, but now it’s RM127. The imported dhal went from RM123 to RM129 in just one week and there is nothing we can do about it.
“It is almost impossible for us to maintain our activities without increasing the prices in our restaurants. I think we may have to raise prices by 15-20% to cover the rising costs,” he told Malaysiakini.
Krishnan urged the government to understand the plight of food service operators instead of just looking at the price tags charged to consumers.
“Since March 2020, approximately 1,000 grocery outlets have closed shop because they could not afford the cost of running a business.”
The General Association of Malaysian Cafe Owners in Singapore, which represents 20,000 members, previously said drinks at traditional cafes would increase by 20 to 60 sen next month, depending on location.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will also charge more for consultations and their prescriptions from January 2022.
According to the president of the Federation of Chinese Physicians and the Association of Acupuncturists, Ng Po Kok, most of their stocks are imported and there is currently a supply shortage, forcing owners to raise prices.
“For now, some still have shares that were bought previously, but they will run out at the end of the month,” he told Malaysia Insight, adding that he expects costs increase between 10 and 30%.
“In fact, prices have already increased, but not substantially. We encourage our members to absorb the costs as much as possible as everyone is going through difficult times. But if prices continue to rise, we will no longer be able to absorb the costs because we are already operating at a loss. We will have to adapt according to the market.
Ng said that in addition to the price increases, they expected to see fewer patients, especially those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Malaysian Chinese Medical Association President Yong Wee Seong said some practitioners have already adjusted their fees, increasing between 15 and 20 percent.
“We don’t want to charge that much, but we have to because of the current situation. We also have a lot of other expenses to bear.
Boon Yip Heng, Malaysian president of the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Drug Dealer Associations, told The Malaysian Insigt that they needed to explain to their customers why they had been forced to raise the prices of their drugs.
Items expected to increase in price include Licorice and Goji, also known as Goji Berries, among others.