By Chew Lip Song
THE government has increased the ceiling price for three-ply face masks from 80 sen to RM2 and banned the export of the item.
This was contained in two federal gazettes which came into effect today, Malaysiakini reported.
The price for one-ply earloop face masks, two-ply earloop face masks, and N95 face masks, remain the same.
The government has also completely banned the export of face masks to all other countries.
To date, Malaysia has 900 recorded Covid-19 cases with two fatalities. However, 75 of the patients have recovered.
Meanwhile Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said the increase followed a shortage of the item in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added the move would encourage businesses to import, as well as produce, face masks.
“If the ceiling price is limited to 80 cents, then producers and factories would not be able to afford anymore to produce due to the increased price of materials to make the masks.
“With the ceiling price raised to RM2, this would encourage imports (of masks) into our country. We see this as a step to tackle the shortage of face masks,” Nanta said.
He said that coupled with the government’s move to forbid exports of face masks from Malaysia to other countries, he expressed hope that these steps would increase the supply of face masks in the country.