83,233% profit for a 300ml glass of water?

The Consumers Association of Penang calls on the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism to immediately enforce the Price Control and Anti Profiteering Act 2011 on shops, restaurants and coffee shops who are charging exorbitantly for drinking water. The Ministry should not wait for consumers to report being overcharged but use its powers under the Act to take action against the unscrupulous parties.

From media reports, it was stated that consumers are being charged up to RM1.50 for a glass of water. According to SYABAS they charge RM2-00 for 1,000 litres of water in Selangor. Based on this charge, a glass of water (300ml) which is usually priced at 50 sen in some shops should only cost RM0.0006 sen. This means that restaurateurs and shops stand to earn a profit of 83,233% for each glass of water sold. This is really daylight robbery!!

Restaurateurs say that the price of water has escalated as they have to take into account overhead costs. However, CAP feels that it is not an excuse as even if overhead expenses are taken into account, the price is still extremely high.

On the other hand, it also a common practise in some restaurants and shops for water to be served as soon as their customers are seated. In most cases, the water is not consumed as the customer orders other beverages and hence the water is thrown away. In such instances, water should only be served if the customer requests for it.

CAP therefore calls on the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism not to hesitate to enforce the Act.

Letter to Editor, 9 Feb 2012