Rafizi not seeing the whole picture, say restaurateurs

(FMT) – Rafizi Ramli’s criticism over the high cost of food has ruffled the feathers of several restaurateurs who say the economic affairs minister is not seeing the whole picture.

Bella Muhd, whose outlet serves Kelantanese food and asam pedas, said the prices of fish, vegetables and dry goods have skyrocketed despite chicken retailing at a lower price of RM9.20 per kg.

“So, how do I bring down the cost of my food? Chicken prices have dipped by 20 sen but the others have gone up,” she told FMT.

Bella said Rafizi should also factor in the minimum wage for employees.

She said she was forced to offer more than RM1,800 in wages apart from other benefits as no one wanted to take a RM1,500 pay.

On Saturday, Rafizi had criticised the attitude of certain operators who refused to lower their prices despite the lower cost of raw ingredients.

Desonny Tuzan, who has a restaurant in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, said Rafizi should take a holistic look at the situation owners face instead of focusing solely on raw materials.

He said proprietors like him also take into account operational costs, the prices of imported goods, and rentals, which have yet to drop.

“The prices of imported butter, mayonnaise as well as herbs and spices increase every year,” he said.

Suardi Muhammad, who sells nasi lemak at a restaurant in Melaka, said the price of beef has not come down much.

“It is difficult to reduce prices without affecting our profit,” he said, pointing out that businesses do not set prices on a whim. “Even when prices of goods increased in the past, I did not raise them by much.”