JOHOR BAHRU: Consumers need not resort to panic buying of basic necessities and pharmaceutical products amid concerns about COVID-19, as the shops have enough stock, said Johor's Consumerism, Domestic Trade and Unity Committee chairman S Ramakrishnan on Wednesday (Feb 12).
In an interview with CNA, Dr Ramakrishnan said there was no need for consumers to buy in bulk or create their own stockpiles at home.
“I would like to advise the consumers that there is no need to panic buy. There is enough stock for rice, tissue papers, sugar, oil so they can always come back and buy once they run out,” he said.
He added that the state government is making arrangements to ensure that the stock for pharmaceutical items like face masks and hand sanitisers will be replenished.
His comments came on the back of reports suggesting that there has been a surge in demand, with Singaporeans buying essential food supplies as well as pharmaceutical products in Johor Bahru.
Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has conducted surveillance and inspections in Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri, Pasir Gudang and Kulai. Checks showed that the supplies of controlled goods were sufficient at the levels of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, the ministry said last weekend.
READ: Shortage of face masks in JB amid coronavirus scare, some retailers selling above price ceiling
Dr Ramakrishnan, who is also the Bekok state assemblyman, added: “We quite understand the surge in purchases for these items but we’d like to emphasise that there’s no need to worry."
"Because of the sudden increase in purchases, we have urged suppliers to ramp up their supply so that the masks and groceries are available in the shops.”
“The government on our part are doing our best to ensure the supply is always there. The wholesalers and manufacturers are around and ready to help,” he added.
Johor is widely considered the frontline for Malaysia's battle against the coronavirus. Out of Malaysia's 18 confirmed cases for COVID-19, at least seven of the patients passed through the southern state.
READ: Malaysian Health Minister announces joint working committee with Singapore to tackle novel coronavirus
"SINGAPOREANS ALWAYS WELCOMED TO SHOP IN JB"
Dr Ramakrishnan added: "Maybe individual shops where Singaporeans visit quite often, those areas may be running out fast ... Not only Singaporeans but even other tourists, like from China, also buy a lot, like masks, they buy more than normal."
He said tourists need not buy groceries and face masks in unnecessarily large quantities and urged them to consider the needs of the Johoreans.
“Singaporeans are always welcome to Johor Bahru to do their shopping. And (to minimise the impact of the shortage), we are urging suppliers to replenish fast so that Johoreans are not impacted by this shortage,” said Dr Ramakirshnan.