GEORGE TOWN: Prices of essential food items such as onions, flour and ghee in the state have increased ahead of the Deepavali celebrations on Oct 18.
Checks by New Straits Times revealed that the prices of these items have jumped up by as much as RM10.
Clarified butter or ghee, which previously retails at RM38.50 to RM40 for an 800g tin, is now being sold at RM40 to RM43.
Some shops in Little India were also selling ghee at RM45 for an 800g tin.
A staff at a sundry shop at Lebuh Pasar, who declined to be named, said that ghee was selling out fast as it is the main ingredients in the preparation of many Indian sweets.
“Flour and milk are also selling out quickly. Some traders are taking the opportunity to make a quick buck by increasing the prices,” he said.
Checks also revealed that while prices of spices and lentils remained the same, the prices of mutton have also gone up.
One kilogramme of freshly cut mutton, which usually retails at RM55, now stands between RM60 and RM65.
A mutton seller at Lebuh Chulia, T. Rajan, said that this was because of the high demand for mutton meat.
“The price is set by the goat herders and we have to set it at slightly higher to make a marginal profit,” he said.
Meanwhile, a state Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry spokesman said that the department would be conducting raids at several shop in the next few days to nab errant traders.
“We will fine anyone found hiking up prices unscrupulously,” he warned.