Consumer group calls for clear guidelines on MCO-related policies

Opalyn Mok
A customer selecting fish at a supermarket in Cyberjaya April 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

GEORGE TOWN, April 6 — Penang Consumers’ Association (CAP) is calling on Putrajaya to come up with comprehensive guidelines related to the movement control order (MCO) to clear up confusion on many issues.

CAP President Mohideen Abdul Kader said there is a lack of planning with clear guidelines with regards to the MCO and the government’s economic stimulus package.

“In all that we can see is a lack of planning with clear guidelines leaving implementers to decide how they are to interpret the general announcements made by the government, some resulting in embarrassing U-turns,” he said in a statement.

He said the lack of clarity in the MCO guidelines had led to uncertainties and this had caused panic buying. 

He pointed at the gaps left by the economic stimulus package with problems arising from it that were unaddressed.

He claimed there were “glaring loopholes” in the package that needed to be fixed urgently.

“The government should address the problem of escalating food prices as it is its responsibility to see if the cause of it is because of profiteering or an avoidable disruption in the supply chain,” he said.

He cited reports of an estimated 10,000 tonnes of fruits in the Klang Valley that were dumped by fruit producers and wholesalers since the implementation of the MCO.

“Cameron Highlands farmers dump hundreds of tonnes of vegetables,” he said.

He said both fruit and vegetable farmers share the same problems concerning the logistics of sending their produce to the market and the regulations imposed by authorities. 

“The same applies to fishermen because the middlemen no longer buy the fish from them as the markets are closed,” he said.

He appealed to the government to create “Green Lanes” or fast-track lanes for inter-state borders for transport delivering food supplies throughout the country.

“It is nothing new because the European Union (EU) was already proposing it before EU member states started closing their border as an anticipation of the threat by Covid-19,” he said. 

“If we had Green Lanes, then food supplies can be transported throughout the country unimpeded despite MCO,” he added.

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