Jangan Panic, There’s Enough Face Masks For Everyone!

If you’ve been frantically going to one pharmacy to another in search of face masks…you’re not alone.

jangan panic, there’s enough face masks for everyone!Photo: Bernama

According to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister (KPDNHEP) Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the supply of face masks is rapidly depleting mainly due to the increase of demand and the fact that many factories are closed during the festive period.

“Right now, the demand is high, and the current supply is unable to meet the demand. (I am informed) Supplies have dropped as many factories are closed due to the Chinese New Year holidays,” he told BERNAMA.

“We have already informed the manufacturers and they are going to increase production,” he added.

jangan panic, there’s enough face masks for everyone!Photo: Malay Mail

The ministry also reported “panic purchases” as one of the reasons behind the dwindling supply of face mask as BERNAMA reported states like Johor and Kota Kinabalu to have sold out all their face masks and hand sanitizers at sundry shops, pharmacies and 24-hour convenience stores.

Saifuddin assures that there is no need for people to stock up on face masks and that the public should remain calm, as the government is in talks with suppliers and manufacturers regarding the shortages of face masks, especially in local markets.

KPDNHEP Deputy Minister Chong Chieng Jen also warned wholesalers, retailers and manufactures to not take advantage of the shortages in supply to increase the prices of face masks or hand sanitisers products.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the ministry has categorized face masks as price control items under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

According to Chong, these are the price guidelines for the different types of face masks:

  • one-layered mask priced at RM5 per box (wholesale) or RM7 per box (retail);
  • two-layered mask priced at RM8 per box (wholesale) or RM10 per box (retail), or 20 sen per piece;
  • three-layered surgical mask priced at RM25 per box or 80 sen per piece;
  • three-layered hijab-friendly mask priced at RM30 per box or 80 sen per piece; and
  • N95 face mask which can be bought for RM100 per box or RM6 per piece.

The ministry will also be taking stern action against any party that hikes up the prices of face masks to make a profit.

jangan panic, there’s enough face masks for everyone!Photo: Reuters

“Errant traders could face a maximum fine of RM100,000, or imprisonment for up to three years, or both, if found guilty, while companies could be fined up to RM500,000 or compound up to RM250,000,” Chong said.

Just a few hours ago, Malay Mail reported that three business owners in Kota Kinabalu were found to have violated the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 of hiking the price of face masks by selling the heavy duty N95 mask at RM12 per unit instead of RM6, and a three-layer surgical mask at RM1 per unit instead of the maximum price of 80 sen.

“Our enforcement officers will take immediate action upon receiving such reports,” Cong said while adding that 2,300 enforcement officers and 1,000 price checkers have been deployed nationwide to carry out inspections on outlets selling face masks.

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya