Malaysian consumers are weak!

The Malaysian consumers often have to face the threat of price hike by suppliers and producers. Too many times over. So much hue and cry when this happens. Almost everyone runs around like headless wet hens.

Why is this happening? For one, producers and suppliers in Malaysia have a lot of power. It is because they can do a lot of things and get away with it. They can meddle with the quality of the goods and services and offer them at premium prices, and still get away with it.

How come? It’s so simple! Malaysian consumers are very weak. Malaysian consumers have a very lousy consumer attitude. They are consumers but they fail to exercise the power that they have, against the producers and suppliers. That is why they are bullied.

Whenever there are price hikes, consumers would rather ask the Government to protect them. “The Government should……..” is one of the over used phrase in the mouths of average Malaysians. The Malaysian consumers expect the Government to check on the prices and reprimand errand producers, suppliers and retailers, every single time.

The Malaysian consumers failed to deal with these price hikes. They are unable to organize themselves to restrain from consuming these products and goods. Boycott, for short. They are simply too lazy and obtuse to go for the next substance which could substitute the product which price went up. They give a million excuses why they will eventually give in and the producers and suppliers will not only win, but they will get away with it, almost all the time. For example, Malaysian consumers are unable to change their lifestyle and habit to eat without fried food or their food prepared without cooking oil rather then grouse over the increase of cooking oil prices.

The Star, www.thestar.com.my, has such a story, last Saturday:


Teh tarik to cost 10 sen more

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Teh tarik and other beverages containing condensed milked will cost 10 sen more now in Penang, Kedah and Perak.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association president K.K. Sihabutheen said this was enforced recently at all major nasi kandar outlets in the northern states and the price increase, agreed upon by the association’s 150 members, was also for drinks like Milo, coffee and Horlicks.

The rise in the price of condensed milk led to the hike, he said.

“A carton of 48 tins of condensed milk costs RM108.85 compared to RM99.85 a year ago. Our selling price of teh tarik is still low, almost the same as the hawker’s price,” he said.

He was speaking after a dialogue between Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Lau Chiek Tuan and association members here yesterday.

Sihabutheen said the roti canai price would remain at 60 sen per piece despite the recent the increase in all-purpose wheat flour price.

“We have been selling roti canai at 60 sen for the past 12 years, the cheapest in the country. We only make a profit of one sen as the cost to produce each piece is 59 sen,” he said.

The price of roti telur (roti canai with egg) would also be maintained at RM1.30 following a request by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, he said.

Sihabutheen said members had complained that the prices of several essential goods had gone up over the last two years.

“A 50kg tank of cooking gas has gone up from RM82 to RM145, while a 17kg tin of cooking oil is now RM50 compared to RM33.

“A kilo of margarine is up 30 sen from RM2.20. A kilo of dhal is now RM2.24 compared to RM1.80 previously, while a kilo of spices is up by RM1 from RM8,” he said.

Can the Malaysian consumers boycott the Teh Tarik and Roti Canai, till the price come down to a ‘reasonable’ level? Why not?

That is why Malaysian consumers are highly dependent on Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and the price control mechanism of hundreds of products, especially food item and essential stuff. In the Malaysian history, there had been no successful or effective organized boycott of products and goods because of the indiscriminate price hike by the producers.

This is about the attitude of Malaysian consumers. The consumer power is a very powerful tool and it could be used wisely, for the benefit of the consumers. Unfortunately, Malaysian consumers have a very obtuse and complacent attitude, habit and lifestyle which got them at the losing end, every time.

Published in: on May 28, 2007 at 23:06  Comments (11)