How do you explain paying RM72 for a 450ml bottle of disinfectant spray or RM22 for a 50ml hand sanitiser?
These are the prices that unpleasantly greeted Twentytwo13 creative editor Amar Qastellani Tajuddin this morning at a gas station in SS17, Subang Jaya.
The products have become household necessities with the Covid-19 pandemic and are in short supply, but to charge almost triple the normal price is tantamount to cheating and being heartless.
It’s bad that people have been indoors for almost a month now and many are struggling financially. The suffering is compounded when prices are jacked up.
Amar said the price of the disinfectant spray before the pandemic was no more than RM30. Checks online showed that the same hand sanitiser is sold for about RM8.
When Amar brought up the matter with the cashier, the latter confirmed these were indeed the prices.
“I told him that I would be checking this with the Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs Ministry and his reply was ‘Ok boss’.
“That’s almost an increase of nearly three times the normal price! It’s good to have such items at home but what is supposed to be a necessity now seems to be exclusively for those who can afford it,” Amar added.
He acknowledged such items are missing from the shelves of pharmacies and hypermarkets. He has lodged a complaint with the ministry on its e-Aduan portal on the price hike.
It was reported recently that manufacturers of disinfectants, cleaning products and santisers, including Reckitt Benckiser, have increased production following surging demand worldwide.
The pandemic, which has hit every continent, has seen consumers scramble to buy and hoard personal hygiene products and even toilet rolls.
Fights have also erupted over the rush for toilet rolls.
Consumers who want to lodge a report or complain can contact the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry at 1-800-886-800, http://e-aduan.kpdnhep.gov.my/ or WhatsApp +60 19-279 4317.