The public has been urged by the government to remain calm and stop panic-buying due to the COVID-19 outbreak
People have been seen grabbing items at several supermarkets as they prepare for a potential lockdown
In Penang, shoppers were seen stocking up on food items and toilet rolls since the first COVID-19 case was reported. Those in Sabah also rushed to get daily necessities like rice, soap, and oil, after the first case was reported in Tawau.
However, panic-buying will only add to the crisis because it can deprive others of essential items, and can worsen the situation by affecting prices of grocery items
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said in a statement reported by The Star today, 16 March, that they are monitoring the prices of face masks, hand sanitisers, and toilet paper.
"We are in the midst of coming up with an effective plan but give us a few more days.
"We are fine-tuning it. In the meantime, stop the panic-buying. Just buy what you need."
"Planned buying is much better. People need to sit down with their family members, write down what they actually need and what could be stored in the house," said Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan, a psychology programme director at a private university, according to The Star.
"The public must also buy according to their means, because we don't know how long this virus outbreak will go on for," she added.
The recent spike in COVID-19 cases have been linked to a tabligh assembly with over 16,000 attendees from various countries: