We would all give a thumbs up for a free glass of water, but if an eatery wants to charge for a glass of water, it should not be more than 30 cents, which is the consensus reached between consumer groups and an association of restaurant operators.
Their comments came after a recent announcement that the government is taking measures on high-end restaurants, fast food outlets, other types of eateries including stalls that charge customers RM1 for a glass of water, The Sun reported.
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Rosol Wahid said notices have been issued to 84 food and beverage outlet operators regarding the RM1 air kosong.
As of yesterday, Kelantan accounted for 14 of the offenders, the highest in the country, followed by Selangor (12), Sabah (8), Sarawak (8), Johor (8), Pahang (7), Terengganu (6), Kuala Lumpur (5), Melaka (4), Labuan (3), Penang (3), Perlis (2), Perak (2), and Negeri Sembilan (2).
Rosol said the notices were issued through Ops Catut 8.0 (Plain Water) that started last Wednesday after getting complaints from the public.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) chief executive officer Saravanan Thambirajah told The Sun that the water tariff in Malaysia is already low, so it’s unjustifiable to charge RM1 for a glass of it.
He said it would be ideal if eateries could give serve water for free and in comparison, eateries in England for example, are required by law to give customers potable water for free when they request for it.
Although he notes it’s understandable that in Malaysia, eateries may need to charge for it. “Here, the water has to be filtered and boiled before it is served, unlike in England where one can just drink straight from the tap,” Saravanan said.
Consumers Association of Penang vice-president Fathima Mohd Idris said water should be served free, but customers should play a role by not wasting it.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk Jawahar said it shouldn’t be free, but it shouldn’t be RM1 either. “There are services attached to it that makes it reasonable to charge 20 to 30 sen,” he said.
You’re probably feeling a little thirsty after reading this report, so here’s a song to remind you to stay hydrated.