Coronavirus: Asia

Malaysians urged against panic buying ahead of tighter curbs

No need to hoard as supplies are plentiful, govt assures them, as lines form to buy necessities

People lining up to buy essentials at a supermarket on Friday. There were long queues at stores ahead of the government announcement on stricter movement curbs yesterday.
People lining up to buy essentials at a supermarket on Friday. There were long queues at stores ahead of the government announcement on stricter movement curbs yesterday.PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA/IPOH • There were long queues of Malaysians waiting to stock up on goods ahead of the government announcement yesterday on stricter movement curbs, leading the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to issue an assurance that there supplies remain plentiful.

The ministry's enforcement director Azman Adam said it conducts monitoring of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers to ensure there would be enough supply for consumers throughout the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO).

Malaysia is into its second week of a four-week MCO, dubbed MCO 3.0, as this is the third lockdown since last year.

"The ministry conducts daily checks nationwide to ensure there is enough supply, especially for the MCO 3.0 period," he said in a statement on Friday.

"We advise consumers to make their daily purchases in the needed quantity only. Any change to consumer behaviour, such as 'hoard-buying', will lead to a disruption in local supply, which will then create panic among other consumers," he said.

The government on Friday announced it will tighten the MCO 3.0 enforcement to battle Covid-19, including shortening operating hours for malls.

Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo welcomed the ministry's move to constantly monitor the supply chain. "This gives confidence to consumers about the adequate supply of essential items even with Malaysia under MCO," he said.

"Consumers, however, should be smart by buying only what they need, instead of buying in huge quantities," he added.

In Ipoh, social media postings showed people joining long lines at supermarkets and hypermarkets, while others say there is no need for panic buying as seen in the previous two MCOs.

Teacher Ambiga Pillay, 60, said it was not worth the risk going to a crowded place. "Since only my husband and I are at home, we don't really need to get a lot of things. And when we do need anything, we can always go to the sundry shops nearby," she said.

Commenting on pictures of people massing at the entrances of malls and hypermarkets, music teacher Lee Yan Di, 30, said: "I don't understand why people still do that after going through several MCOs since last year. We are still allowed to go out to buy groceries so there is definitely no need to stock up."

  • Do's and Don'ts in tighter Malaysia's MCO 3.0

  • Malaysia yesterday announced stricter measures for its ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO), dubbed MCO 3.0 as it is the third nationwide lockdown since last year.

    MCO 3.0 started on May 12 and is set to end of June 7.

    Here are some Do's and Don'ts.


    • Work from home for 80 per cent of civil servants, and 40 per cent of private sector employees.

    • Malls, restaurants, grocery stores and laundromats will shut two hours earlier, with operating hours between 8am and 8pm.

    • Factories to remain open, with strict health protocols.

    • Police to mount more roadblocks and more enforcement checks to be conducted on business premises.

    • Online and TV education for students.

    • Marriage ceremonies and registrations allowed, with strict heath protocols.


    • No inter-district or inter-state travel or tourism activities, except for work.

    • No dining in at restaurants, cafes and food stalls.

    • No more than three people in one vehicle, even for those from the same household.

    • No physical contact sports.

    • Spas, reflexology centres, nightclubs, pubs, theme parks, indoor playgrounds, family karaoke centres and cinemas to close.

    • No social activities and business events such as gatherings, seminars or face-to-face meetings.

    Nadirah H. Rodzi

Ipoh central market chicken seller Zaini Shaari said it was crowded between 6am and 9am on Friday. "It was definitely more crowded, compared with the last few days. Business has been good before the Hari Raya celebrations until today but I think it will slow down from Saturday," he said.

Said fishmonger Jasni Jamal, 52, who said her stock was almost sold out before 9am on Friday, there would be continued supplies even during the enhanced MCO period.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 23, 2021, with the headline 'Malaysians urged against panic buying ahead of tighter curbs'. Subscribe