Malaysians feel the squeeze as food prices soar


Never mind the rise in electricity tariffs, toll rates, and satellite television subscriptions, many Malaysians are grumbling every time they go to the market and stores because of the soaring prices of fruit and vegetables.

(Thanks to blog visitor Radhi for the video link.)

To make matters worse, Malaysia relies heavily on imported food, as our own fertile agriculture land is gobbled up for speculative property development and cash crop plantations. Penang, for instance, has lost many of its farms and orchards, in places such as Tanjung Tokong and Balik Pulau.

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, noted recently:

Palm oil dominates the agricultural landscape in Malaysia, occupying 5 million hectares – more than 70 per cent of the country’s arable land. Malaysia produces 39 per cent of global palm oil and accounts for 44 per cent of global exports. However, the growing sector has generated environmental concern due to deforestation, biodiversity loss and soil nutrient depletion.

The Special Rapporteur warned that the focus on export-led commodity production makes the country highly vulnerable to price shocks on international markets, as the country depends on imports for basic foodstuffs, including 30 per cent of rice, Malaysia’s main staple crop, 66 per cent of fruits, and 41 per cent of vegetables.

Higher food prices are being manifested in various subtle ways. Someone told me that a particular brand of sardines used to contain four sardines in a can, but now the same can contains just three.

Or a packet of salt may contain less than before.

Noodles including char koay teow at many places are now served on plates barely larger than saucers, as serving sizes have grown shrivelled. If we are observant, we may even notice our roti canai being ‘downsized’ before our very eyes. And honey, they’ve shrunk the thosai!

At the market, many customers are often heard grumbling over the price hikes.

Given the rising cost of living, growing indebtedness, depressed wages and low pensions, the vulnerable, the sick, and the working poor are finding it difficult to cope. Unfortunately, our social welfare and support services are in many cases inadequate, our general hospitals underfunded and overstretched while public funds are frittered away.

In Singapore, the working poor are also feeling the strain.

(Thanks to blog visitor Don Anamalai for the link.)

These are difficult times indeed. And all this happening befor GST piles more misery on the people.

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Nestlé funds nutritionists, subverts science to preserve its sugary Milo’s market in Malaysia?

Don Anamalai

Najib’s 11 steps for Putrajaya to cut cost missed out the key element of cutting the excesses/deadwood in the bloated civil service as this is the Fixed Cost!!!


To show his sincerity in cutting cost, Najib should instruct all official BN functions to be served with Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia.


Price of ice cubes to go up in the new year.
Enough reason for mamak stalls to increase the price of the cold drinks?


Why so much complaints on LGE & DAP governance? The real issues lie on the federal policies of the day. Nothing to loath about since this is as expected. Would any logical explanation be made on the BR1M and what goodness it had brought along after the extensive spending up to election day. It’s high time to pay back.


Buyers want action against developer in Bukit Gambir

More than 70 medium low cost house owners at Centrio Avenue in Bukit Gambir in George Town today once again urged the DAP-led state government to take firm action against the developer of the project for raising prices.

These people just too naive not to realize that the price increase have the blessing of the LGE DAP state govt and did I not say all along there is no REAL 72k for you Penangite. 180k houses disguised as 72k


The buyers are crying foul at having to pay between RM160,000 and RM180,000 for a unit compared with the original price of RM72,500.

So who is increasing the price of LMC 72k houses or are there any 72k houses being built. NIL AT ALL. Jardip & LGE is trying to justify their action in controlling all affordable houses built during Gerakan time and trying to hookwink the people as though these houses are being implemented by them.

This is proof and evidence that the DAP is making prices of affordable homes and essential good to go up.


I doubt it is realistic to have a house below RM100K on Penang island.
Our Ringgit is no longer as strong as before.
Prices of building materials have also gone up.
Even if it is done at RM100K, chances are the buyer have to fork out more money for tiling and other improvement works.


What CAT-action against this recalcitrant developer?
MLC house owners can only pray-pray with 3 joss sticks + one black chicken until the cows come home no different from the condo-cow saga so lambasted by the venerable Tokong@Komtar Tower of Cosmopolitan Shame. Political strings attached to such deceiving housing development?

Of course, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil is the daily mantra of this slippery-clean Tokong’s minions of blind pray-pray faith.


Do write to Buletin Mutiara to update Penangites on Botak Hill progress.

I rode my bike along Gelugor; and outside USM main road you look up you can see the Botak Hill.

Sasha Pranth

While Malaysia has made a pretty big name for itself at the global level in regards to palm oil, it has done so at the expense of the environment and its people. This indiscriminate clearing of land for agri-biz is most worrying. We need people at the top who will look at the bigger picture and not only the short-term gains to be had. I read tin mining is being revived in Perak. With logging already destroying our beautiful rainforests, Malaysia is going to become a wasteland in more ways than one.


Another thing. Why only a select few are allowed to supply rice,flour,sugar? If there are no restrictions people can compete and bring cheaper staple food stuff.

Stylo Logan

BN should practice free market enterprise, allowing anyone to bring in food stuff as more competition I’ll drive down price. Monopoly does not help the people.


Oop sorry you can still use. RM40 per per person, children RM30


Moot, What you are talking is about the once in while guy who took his family for an outing or youngster without having to support the familiy. It cannot apply to the daily neccesities of most of the many wage owner and worse still the poor & very poor. While you see those middle income that are driving nice car, yes these are some who can afford once a weekend but not the many wage earner. They will have to survive on bit by bits of their income that have been chipped off and all because we are becoming what… Read more »

Bo Looi Lang

Not another theme park!
Brace for more, Penangites.
You ask for it?
At RM40 per per person, children RM30 who can really afford @ SinKarPoh standard?
Can only see, cannot enjoy mah!


2nd theme park WWW opposite Moonlight Bay using German technology.

Water fun attracts tourists local and foreign.

Not haram because just look look at girls in bikini 🙂


Unfortunately, the so called food price increase doesn’t mean people will spend wisely, some even seek for poor alternative, even good alternative is around the corner. This has nothing to do with “let them eat cakes”. In most country, poor people (including relatively poor middle class) make bad decision when under stressed. Most of the time, poor information make poor people make poor choices. Let me share an example. When walk around the mall with my friend, we talk about thrifty spending, about how he going to clear off his credit card debt by spending smartly in food. Then we… Read more »



Thai fishermen bought cheap diesel (allegedly) from Malaysian fishermen who got sudsidised diesel.
Malaysian fishermen got money without having to go out to fish(?)

Stylo Logan


Do you get better value at kedai 1malaysia?


Last nite brought my family (wife + 3 children) out for dinner & movie.

Each McDonald’s Prosperity Burger = RM14
Each ‘The Hobbit’ movie ticket = RM14
Pop-corn = RM12
Parking fee = RM8

Total cost = RM14x5 + RM14x5 + RM12 + RM8 = RM160!

I will buy a Blu-ray player for my family to watch ‘blockbuster blu ray movie’ at home to save cost next year….


Anil off topic but related to previous topic. This morning I hiked up to Penang Hill from Desa Bendera. What I see is a real disappointment, not like the Penang Hill of yesteryear. Wow so many visitors, it has become so saturated. What would happen if there is a cable car. Worse still you have a concrete cement square right in the middle/opposite the police station. Simply no serenity and natural surrounding at all. The blaring from the dinosaur show, owl museum and the ten of buggy moving around make the place like a market place. Frankly speaking I would… Read more »


People who don’t personally experience (first hand) hiking up Penang Hill trails won’t understand you, Yang. People who want a Speedy Gonzales fast ride up & fast ride down. People who want to be there just b’cos its popular, “I must be there too”. People who want all things noisy, busy & plastic, not the least of all, commercialized to the max like pasar pagi, petang hingga malam. People who think money, money, money (to be made) even in the serenity of a hill resort (contradictory, isn’t it). People who believe in ‘CHANGE is inevitable’ not b’cos its preventable for… Read more »


Please put your Penang hill comment on the Penang hill column. Do not gate crash!

Friend of Penang Hill

Harun, you got nothing better to scream? A gate keeper of
Why not hike up Pg Hill to see the real situation?


Harun, mind your manners. Or you can quit reading here.

Rich Daddy

Are you sure about that ??? Or the opposition syndrome still prevailing inside you ??? Anyway, the ADUN and MP of that area also playing important roles. The noisy gates will get the lubrication first. Do you understand that meaning ??? Also, please watch daily Parliament proceeding @TV1, and you can see the good and good for nothing MPs do the talkings. Pinch your local ADUN and MP that sleeping on the jobs. Flood your unlimited complaints to them !!!

Rich Daddy

Oh, that is my reply to Hooi Guan comment: “But BN gomen did not help the vegetable farmers of Cameron Highlands. Why?”

Without Javascript turn on, my previous comment went to bottom of the page

najib manaukau

Most of you were warned before and during the GE of what is taking place now, subsidies will be cut. new taxes will be introduced and above all that GST will be introduced. There you are every prediction has materialized and now Najib for once is confirming that without all these the country will go bankrupt. He has been warned of all these for sometimes even by his member of his cabinet that will happen soon yet Najib continued to spend money as though money has run out of fashion. Worse of all … the warlords continue to enrich themselves… Read more »

Hooi Guan

Singapore NTUC has established a chain of FairPrice supermarkets all over the island offering good value food products and rebates to its union members and Singapore citizens.

Sadly our MTUC can never achieve such feat.


Tomorrow the National Christmas celebration is on at the Esplanade from 2 pm onwards. Come join in with our PM Najib whom many are excited to see. The BN govt has also graciously invited the Pg CM to the event. This shows that the BN govt is a govt for all.


Many blame high prices on the govt but I said otherwise. Blame it on us for being pampered for the past 50 years with continued subsidies years after years. All of s sudden subsidies withdrawn and prices shoot up. Yes in the short term prices shot up but in the long term when everything go back to normal without subsidies we shall all feel more comfortable with stable prices & income in the long run. Whether I am right or wrong, this is an honest comment.

Rich Daddy

To be fair, BM gomen always encourage people to involve in agriculture. Remember recent advertisement such as “pertanian adalah perniagaan”, new agriculture university proposal, etc. The younger generation just not interested in less “cool” industry like agriculture. Most of them going after high tech studies like engineering, IT, etc.

Hooi Guan

But BN gomen did not help the vegetable farmers of Cameron Highlands. Why?


Eng Hock, are you talking of the Starbuck Kopi O at RM10 or Tunglang Kopi O kau kau O at 80c. You see the big difference. You can get Salute Kopi O for 8.00 per 30 packets, that is about 26c per cup. This is what DAP & LGE is trying to do, Drive Penangite out of Penang island with high end & high price products.

Hooi Guan

Why make your life so miserable? By the Law of Attraction, you are actually attracting negative vibes with your frustration.

There are many unfortunate and poor people in Malaysia. I suggest your develop more empathy by watching the NTV7’s Helping Hands every Sunday at 6pm:


Hooi Guan, Who say my life is miserable. What I am going to tell is the truth and how the lies and deceits are perpetuated by DAP. Do I need to bodek them just like many of you.


I think sour is a more appropriate description judging by the tone of Yang’s messages.


Eng Hock, You can still save a lot. Exercise and slim down and at the same time cut down on makan. It will be good for you health and wealth.


Tungland, you can still grow food & poultry in Belum but we cannot do it in our cage size apartment of which almost all land in Penang are being marked for development by LGE DAP gomen. Even living in squatters is much better nowadays if you know how to take care of the surrounding. There you can grow vegetable and rear chicken w/o paying any service charge whatsoever. I cannot go far to Belum but Pokok Cheri in Air Itam would be a good choice.

Orang Asli Neighbor of tunglang

Learn the art of homesteading (countryside agro-farming) and share valuable kampung salt with Orang Asli. No need to apply for state land or pay quit rent or assessment rate. No electricity or water bills.
The pristine earth of Orang Asli is endowed with natural resources that are all there is to support basic human needs.
Soon when food crisis hits us, the Orang Asli will give lectures in 8-Star hotel ballroom on the art of survival in the wild.

semuanya OK kot

Preventing people from becoming more independent for essentials is important to capitalism. China has already pushed 50% or so of it population into towns. I wonder where it will end.


Yes, Penang, for instance, has lost many of its farms & orchards. WORSE STILL IT HAS LOST ITS CHARM How else can that not be when land are being sold by LGE DAP state govt to rich developers cronies and overseas investors with marked up property prices. And its all for some PRESTIGIOUS and HIGH END HOUSING projects. Yes go to Balik Pulau and you will see that agricuture land are being developed at a rapid space. The ICON fruit of Penang the NUTMET will soon become oblivion just like the Pinang fruits. The identity of Balik Pulau & Hakka,… Read more »


Not all inflation are the same. What we have experienced before is largely because of a commodity supercycle. The current inflation is due to something else – mostly rising wages and taxes, direct and indirect. Isa Samad COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. UMNO is responsible. The reason why the pain is particularly widespread and harder is because of low productivity for too long due to corruption and NEP. An input based economy that is unproductive suffers MORE when inflation of commodities shows up. And when they artificially inflate the economy via transfer payment and artificial increase in wages and higher… Read more »

eng hock

Anil I have gone to China many times. Last month in Kunming (not the 1st tier city in China yet very advanced)I checked the prices of the groceries like typical vegetables we imported from them. To my surprise, after currency conversion (RM1 = 1.93 yuan and we r getting less and less these days) there is little difference compared to what we have been paying all these days. With growing affluence in China and weather havoc affecting growth of vegetables, its a matter of time China needs to feed own people and less export; and that it may becomes less… Read more »

eng hock

ever notice when overseas demand for pail oil becomess less and less, our palm oil folks start to encourage locals to consume “majerin” made from palm oil.
Mind you some even call it butter !
Watch out for the trans fat content.
No wonder you can notice our population is truly an obese nation !

Phua Kai Lit

Mr Anil,

It’s already happening.

Land in poor countries being bought by foreigners for food production — to export back to their own countries !

semuanya OK kot

On palm oil being destructive or unhealthy and margerine. Palm oil is far less destructive in taking up land compared to soybean and rapeseed, the main Western alternatives. Soybean is expanding across the Amazon basin, not only for oil but to feed cattle. Most of the oils the West promotes as healthy are refined and bleached using industrial solvents and bleaches. Being light, they are also easily oxidised (go rancid). Palm oil, coconut oil and butter in limited quantities are OK and even required. That excludes (a) heating or frying (b) hydrogenation to create cheap subsitiute for butter, e.g. most… Read more »


Anil : And with it come the China String of Pearl

And Christmas will soon be here. Here`s a hymn for you and Merry Christmas.

Joe Black

Guess Who was Agriculture Minister When All these were Created?

Muhyideen Yassin!

Now he is Education Minister Rampantly (messing) up Our Children’s Future!

If he Stays around long enough he will be Prime Minister.

Then He will Graduate into the Big league (of those messing up)


I switched my kids to Chinese schools the moment Muhyidin became Education Minister. I am indebted to Dong Zong. Those who did not do so is jeopadizing their children’s future.


BN has to absorb those unemployed local malay graduates into civil service else they (might) mengamuk! Meantime local universities are still producing high number low quality graduates that the local industries do not need.

Rich Daddy

Er, I disagree. Palm oil is our second stable income beside petroleum. Sometimes, we have to disagree with foreign voices. Our macro economy is sound. Just need a proper “fence” as in the popular Malay saying: Harap pagar, pagar makan padi

Hooi Guan

Food products derived from palm oil has trans fat?
Our Health Ministry will never come clean on this.
Better consume with caution.


It is call idiot economy 101, narrowly see the “benefit” but minus the actual opportunities cost. Planting palm oil need land , water and tons of fertilizer, which is in form of subsidies.