The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) has decided to postpone the implementation of the mandatory MS SIRIM certification and labelling for non-medical face masks to January 2023
The MS SIRIM certification and labelling were gazetted under the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking) of Non-Medical Face Mask Order 2022 under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011 earlier this week.
The gazette was supposed to be enforced beginning 4 July 2022 and would have required manufacturers and importers of non-medical face masks to have the MS SIRIM certification and marking.
While announcing the postponement at the Le Meridien Hotel in Putrajaya, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the decision was made based on public feedback.
According to Alexander, people had voiced their concerns over a price surge of the products once the new ruling was to come into effect
He, however, assured consumers to not be overly worried.
"Number one, I already warned manufacturers and importers to not use this as a reason to hike up prices. Secondly, to users, we will be heading to a time whereby face masks will no longer be mandatory," he said.
The non-medical grade face masks do not fall under price controlled items.
"Only three-ply medical face masks have been listed as control items since October 2020 and are priced at 65 sen and 70 sen for wholesale and retail, respectively. However, I hope that the industry players are mature in terms of pricing their masks and do not profiteer. We will not hesitate to intervene if they do so by way enforcing a price control," the Minister said during his speech at the event with industry players.
He also assured that when the new ruling comes into effect it won't affect consumers who fail to wear SIRIM certified face masks
The onus, Alexander said, is on the distributors and producers.
"I want to stress something here. Offences, should there be any, have no link to the consumers. Consumers will not be given any penalty. Just that this gazette, this law, if there is an offence, the huge fine is to the importers and the manufacturers. So consumers, don't worry."
The Minister's remarks about consumers being exempt from any kind of fine come after confusion that arose due to the wording used in the Ministry's official statement earlier about the gazettement.