Beginning this year, with the fuel price drop, what may have appeared initially to be good news to many of us, hoping that this would cause the price of food and drinks to decrease accordingly; has turned out to be no news at all. It has been a week and the hawkers and coffee shop operators seemed to ignore the price drop. In the past, these operators are very smart; whenever the price of fuel increases, they are so prompt in increasing food prices. This is very unfair to the consumers. Unlike grocery shops which earn a very low profit, hawkers and coffee shops operators are already enjoying a very high profit margin, almost a 200 per cent gross profit. This is not an over judgement as I have made a study on the profit derived by operating a grocery shop and a coffee cum eating shop in Ipoh and Teluk Intan for the past two years. The former being strictly adhered to the price control act, while the latter stand to benefit a lot for free to increase their food and beverage pricing.
In order to prevent hawkers from profiteering unreasonably, and squeezing the rakyat, it is time, the government steps in to regulate the food and drink price as well. Only then can we feel the advantages to be enjoyed when the fuel price is lowered.
Chris Ng Chong Phee