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Eateries not Increasing Prices Yet

To maintain goodwill, food and beverage (F&B) operators said they would prefer not to charge more but diners must brace for a hike depending on the impact of the diesel price being floated.

Advising restaurateurs to monitor the situation closely and to absorb marginal price increases if possible, Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association vice-president Jeremy Lim said this is to avoid scaring the market and consumers.

He, however, warned that there could be sudden price increases if continuous engagement with industry players is not done properly.

“Moving forward, things might change drastically and this could have a huge impact on industries.

“Those in Putrajaya may not have real-life commercial experience, so the impact and loopholes of the (subsidy removal) may be better spotted by industry players.

“This is when the government needs to have an avenue for engagement and discussions,” he said, adding that all ministries should have an open-door-and-open-mind policy as industry players may have valuable feedback to help refine the policies.

Petaling Jaya Coffeeshop Association president Keu Kok Meng agreed, saying awareness of the Subsidised Diesel Regulation System Pilot Project (SKDS) was still low among industry players and suppliers.

“Some of my suppliers have applied for it but either they have not gotten their fleet card yet or were rejected without a proper explanation.

“This has discouraged some of them from applying or reapplying for the fleet card as they still have a lot of questions about the specifications of vehicles eligible and the application process.

“The government has to do their part in spreading awareness and educating industry players about SKDS to prevent the rise in costs from being passed on to consumers,” he said, adding that the government should also focus on targeted subsidies for core industries to prevent a trickle down of costs to consumers.

Not all price increases, said Keu, are tied to the diesel subsidy as other areas of business operations have also gotten pricier.

He said ingredients such as coffee powder has increased from RM16 per kg to RM24 per kg in the last 16 months while electricity bills, rental fees and wages have also continued to rise.

Malaysian Federation of Hawkers and Traders Association president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman urged the government to reduce the bureaucracy for business owners to apply for the diesel subsidy fleet card.

He suggested that the Finance Ministry link up with other relevant agencies or ministries to make the process smoother by having a comprehensive database of businesses and their vehicles.

“The Finance Ministry should work with the Road Transport Department to identify vehicles used for business purposes.

“If such information is available, it would be easier for the Finance Ministry to offer the fleet card to business owners,” he said.

Rosli said simplifying the process would enable more companies to get their diesel subsidy and this would prevent consumers from feeling the pinch.

“If it’s easier, then the cost for business owners will not be affected and they wouldn’t need to increase the price of their products or services,” he said.

He also called for more stringent monitoring by the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry to ensure that traders do not take advantage of the fuel subsidy rationalisation.

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