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TMCNet:  Stationers told not to raise prices [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

[December 29, 2013]

Stationers told not to raise prices [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: The move to increase the prices of stationery items by 20 and 30 per cent by the first quarter of next year runs foul of the law.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Hasan Malek said this would flout the anti-monopoly laws under the Competition Act 2010.

"A consensus move to increase prices amounts to a monopoly and is against the law," he said after officiating AEON's Back to School Campaign programme at Aeon Alpha Angle, Wangsa Maju, here yesterday.

Hasan said the ministry would send enforcement officers to check on the prices of stationery items and called on the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) to investigate and take the necessary action if suppliers collectively raised their prices.

Traders found to be involved could have their goods seized, fined and premises sealed.

Hasan warned suppliers and traders against taking advantage of increasing costs to hike up their prices as this would burden consumers.

He also urged the public to submit complaints to the ministry if they encountered traders raising their prices exorbitantly.

A daily yesterday reported that industry players had claimed they were revising the prices due to the increasing costs from the implementation of minimum wages and transport costs.

The report said they had also cited the new electricity tariff rate, higher fuel price and the currency exchange rate between the ringgit and China's renminbi as reasons to hike the prices of items that were mostly imported from China.

Stationery products included papers, clips, staplers, pencils, pens, colour pencils, files, notebooks, markers and board dusters.

Federation of Stationers and Booksellers Associations of Malaysia president Tey Tong Sing was quoted as saying that the increase would help offset the rising costs borne by industry players and likely be enforced by March.

Stationery and Books Association of Sabah president Ling Hie Sing was also quoted as saying that they were unable to keep prices low because of increasing costs.

The federations, however, have to contend with the Competition Act which bars any move to fix the price of goods and restrict competition.

On the "back-to-school" programme yesterday, 150 underprivileged primary and secondary pupils from Negri Sembilan received vouchers worth RM200 each from AEON Co (M) Bhd, via the Malaysian AEON Foundation, on top of school bags and stationery items.

The campaign, jointly organised by the ministry with AEON, has been running for three years in line with the government's effort to ease the rising cost of living of the public following subsidy rationalisation by the government.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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