Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Organisational information

The Consumers Association of Penang, based in Malaysia was founded in 1970. Its activities are conducted from its office in Penang which is run by a staff of dedicated people, who are engaged in education, community organizing and mobilization, research and advocacy, litigation and publications. Its primary aim is to ensure a sustainable model of development that meets the basic needs of the poor and is also socially just and sustainable.

Unlike consumer organizations in the western world that advice consumers on the value for their money, CAP stresses ‘value for people’.  

CAP is indeed a unique organization that focuses on sustainable and ethical consumption and challenges current aggressive advertising industry that is unfettered and shapes peoples consumption to lifestyles and behavior that is unsustainable, unethical and inequitable.

In emerging economies like Malaysia, CAP challenges the unsustainable model of production and wasteful consumption patterns. It has a wide array of popular publications that teach the wider public to be ethical and rational consumers.  Using health as a major entry point, CAP educates consumers to change their habits to simpler and more meaningful lifestyles, while at the same time advocating for appropriate policies and laws to be in place.

Through the years, CAPs work has lead to the exposing unethical business behavior in sectors like chemical products, food, pharmaceuticals and health etc. CAP’s advocacy has led to some improvements in the laws to regulate these practices.

In the past 2 years, CAP has also intensified its work in training NGOs in the region such as from China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, which are not exposed to unethical business practices of companies, the changing of consumption patterns and the advancing of unsustainable production systems etc. In the newly emerging markets, it is important that advocacy and education efforts are undertaken to prevent the repeat of the unsustainable models of the North from being replicated. Many of those who have come for our training have begun to translate our publications to their own languages and are interested in undertaking activities similar to that of CAP  for a more sustainable and equitable society.

Consequently, CAP has a strong program on education, which also reaches the schools and starts from the young to be good and responsible consumers and citizens.