’Economy’ rice no more: Malaysian restaurant owners seek to raise prices amid rising costs

PETALING JAYA – With the cost of imported rice rising by 36 per cent due to factors including climate change and conflict, restaurant owners are expected to raise the prices of their rice dishes.

“We have no choice but to pass on the additional cost to our customers. Expect the price of a plate of rice to go up to about 20 sen (S$0.06),” said Mr Wong Choi Sim, owner of a popular Chinese restaurant in Thapa, Perak.

He said diners will have to pay more because restaurant operators want to retain their business.

Rice importer Padiperas National said on Friday that the price of white rice has been raised from RM2,350 to RM3,200 per metric tonne due to climate change, a weak ringgit, higher operating costs and conflicts in the region.

As a result, a kilogram of imported white rice costs the consumer 85 sen more.

Nasi Kandar Arsyad restaurant owner Mohd Arsyad Azarin estimated that the price of a dish could go up by at least 50 sen to 80 sen, while the price of other items would also increase.

He named ingredients like chicken, red meat, vegetables and ingredients for making curries. „We’re absorbing costs now, but how long can we sustain this?” he said.

Mr Habib Shahul Hameed, who owns Nasi Kandar Restaurant in Kelana Jaya, said he would not pass on the price hike to customers yet.

Not sure how long he can do that. „Prices of all other food items are already on the rise. Now, as the price of rice is increasing, it will worsen the situation for restaurant owners and their customers,” he noted.

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He said the government should provide more subsidies or increase rice production.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations president N. Marimuthu said that the government should have plans to grow rice relying on imports.

He also said that the country should take advantage of the fertile land to become self-sufficient.

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