Malaysia wants KFC and McDonald’s to explain themselves after prices increased – but don’t expect the Government to force them to lower prices

Consumer unhappiness over price hikes at fast food chains KFC and Malaysia has prompted the Government to request written explanations from the chains.

Fast food chains KFC and McDonald’s, which are currently under investigation for price increases, must submit written explanations to Malaysia’s consumer affairs ministry on why their items have become more expensive, the Consumer Affairs Minister said on Monday (Jan 7), according to a Bernama report.

However, in a Malay Mail report, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail also said that this does not mean that the ministry can force the chains to change their prices back.

Investigations into price increases at the KFC and McDonald’s began on Dec 27, following a spate of public complaints, Malay Mail reported.

KFC reps met Saifuddin on Jan 4 to give a verbal explanation for the price increase: a franchise agreement dictating specific suppliers which they must purchase ingredients from, Bernama said.

But the minister said on Jan 7 that the chain would still be required to provide a written explanation for the price increases under the country’s Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act.

Saifuddin also met McDonald’s reps on Jan 7 over the same matter, Bernama said.

However, Saifuddin added that the ministry could not dictate the prices of food at fast food chains, which were outside legal control, the Malay Mail reported.

“I cannot call (KFC and McDonald’s) and simply ask them to lower their prices. I don’t think that is the role of the government,” the Malay Mail quoted Saifuddin as saying.

According to Bernama, however, he told KFC to be “sensitive” to consumer unhappiness and the Government’s attempts to tackle the increasing cost of living.