Forum: Better control over panic buying needed in future

The Government could have done better by holding a meeting with supermarket operators before they announced the raising of the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) to orange (No risk of shortage of essential food, household items, Feb 8).

This would have allowed all parties concerned to prepare in advance and to limit the purchase of essentials, which was eventually done.

Not only were there long queues at supermarkets, but many impatient shoppers also abandoned their trolleys and baskets full of perishable food near checkout stations and walked away because of the long wait, further aggravating the chaotic situation.

The staff didn't know if the shoppers would return so they left the filled trolleys and baskets there, leaving the perishables to possible rot and wastage.

It is important that the Government work with supermarket operators to prevent panic buying in future.

Such panic buying and hoarding will deprive shoppers in genuine need of supplies a chance to buy what they need.

In the end, it would be the poorer households and the vulnerable in the community who would be more exposed to any resulting shortages.

If supply cannot keep up with the panic buying, there could be a jacking up of prices, which will hit the poor hardest.

Cheng Choon Fei