In a bid to help Malaysians be smarter about their spending habits and maintain thrifty habits, the Government has just launched a Price Watch portal (link) .
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said a 1,600-strong price monitor team would key into the system prices of goods sold at hypermarkets, supermarkets and wet markets nationwide so that the public would know which outlets offer the best prices. (link)
Does it really work? Read on below.
Effectiveness Of Malaysian Price Watch System
On a whim, I tried entering the website which is predominantly in Malay and I couldn’t find an English version anywhere which may be a bit of a problem for urban consumers who are more familiar with English.
The site is not exactly user-friendly and some Malay instructions were rather confusing. The goods offered were also quite basic. A choice of fruits revealed only papaya and watermelon options which is a pretty limited choice of fruits! My few attempts to compare prices of goods was often met with an error message or led to a site where my only option was to go back to option choices! I did not manage to compare any price at all!
How Often Will The Price Watch System Be Updated?
Prices fluctuate everyday, depending on the supply available. Are the 1,600-strong team going to research the prices every morning and update their systems or will it be redundant after a while? The system covers hypermarkets, wet markets and sundry shops. Imagine the manpower and effort required to gather new prices everyday to be updated! With the many advertisements already offered by the hypermarkets in our newspapers everyday, will this be a wasted effort?
Internet access is widely available mainly to the urban population. Will these consumers really take the trouble to sit and surf for prices before they do their grocery shopping or will they just go to the most convenient supermarket or hypermarket to pick up their groceries?
For interested parties, the Price Watch Portal and Smart Consumer website for consumers to share shopping ideas and tips are available at these links:
Price Watch Portal