By Chew Lip Song
THE ceiling retail price of three-ply face masks is set at RM1 a piece, while the wholesale price is 95 sen each.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi today said the price will be further reduced in the future, The Star reported.
“The (gradual) reduction in the price of face mask is a soft landing approach to ensure the stocks that were brought in before with a higher cost, due to air transport, can be sold to reduce the losses of importers due to the decrease in price.
“The Ministry is also ready to further reduce the ceiling price to a lower level in the near future.
“The government hopes that these measures can help reduce the burden of parents who need to provide face masks to their school- going children, as well as for the public,” he said in the Dewan Rajyat when replying to Chong Chieng Jen (PH-Stampin), who asked the rationale for the Ministry to increase the ceiling price of three-ply masks from RM0.80 per piece to RM1.50.
Alexander explained that on April 1, the Ministry gazetted the maximum retail price of the three-ply mask to RM1.50 a piece, and RM1.45 per piece for wholesale.
He said the decision was made after taking the feedback from manufacturers and operators into consideration.
Among them include the low supply of face masks to cater to the demand of society during the pandemic; the high cost of air transportation faced globally due to Covid-19; and the increase in cost of raw imported materials due to the currency exchange and the dip in the ringgit compared to US dollars.
“The Ministry appreciates the efforts of local manufacturers who also supported the government and helped ensure the availability of face masks in the local market.
“Among the support provided include not exporting the face masks and to ensure domestic supplies are sufficient,” he said.
Alexander said the Ministry, together with the Finance Ministry, had also worked to increase the supply of face masks in the local market by giving exemptions on import duty and sales text to manufacturers and importers of face masks.
The decision to further reduce the maximum retail price of the three-ply face mask from RM1.50 a piece to RM1.20 was first tabled to the Cabinet on July 17, and will come in force on August 15, he said.
Alexander said the government then made it compulsory for everyone to wear face masks in crowded public areas on Aug 1.
“Following that decision, the demand for face masks had increased. As a caring government, I would like to state that the supply of face masks is sufficient at the moment,” he said.
He said that the production of face masks is also being increased, adding that the price of face masks sold by manufacturers has also reduced.