Probe into RM1,196 sea bass dish

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A tourist in Langkawi was stunned after he was charged RM1,196 for a ‘siakap’.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has been urged to be transparent while conducting its probe into the case of the allegedly unreasonably billed ‘siakap’ dish at a Langkawi restaurant to ensure that patrons are not ‘oppressed’ by exorbitant food prices.

Kedah Consumers Association (CAKE) secretary Mohd Yusrizal Yusoff said the incident could have happened due to a miscommunication between the two parties involved (seller and buyer) which left the consumer dissatisfied and made a social media post while sharing the lunch receipt.

“By right, the consumer must report it to the ministry so that an investigation can be done and for stern action to be taken if an offence has been committed. Also, we do not know if the seller has displayed the price sign.

“If there is no price sign, action can be taken. However, if the live siakap fish was only meant to be for display, then the seller should have insisted to the consumer that it was not for sale,” he said today.

Yusrizal was commenting on claims by a restaurant patron who had alleged that the price of the siakap fish ordered at a restaurant on Wednesday was exorbitant.

Mohd Faris Zulkarnain and six others had initially wanted to order two whole sea bass but changed their minds after the waiter demonstrated the size of one fish.

“We decided to order only one fish.

“The size was a little bigger than what we’re used to,” Faris wrote on Facebook.

But when the fish arrived, they were shocked that it was large enough to feed a crowd of 30 instead of seven.

The restaurant had selected a sea bass that weighed 7.48kg for Faris’ table.

At that point, Faris expected to pay between RM700 and RM800, but the total bill came up to a hefty RM1,852.50.

Besides the fish that cost RM1,196, Faris and company were charged RM200 for prawns, RM200 for calamari, RM87.20 for crab, RM27 for kailan and RM35 for a jug of watermelon juice.

Facebook

Faris claimed in his post that other customers at the restaurant also received shocking bills ― one customer paid RM755 for two people while another was billed RM800.

“I was shocked upon seeing my bill ― I wanted to pay using my credit card but there was a five per cent surcharge,” he said.

Faris warned other holidaymakers to be cautious to avoid paying through their nose.

The owner of Restoran Terapung Sas Rimba, Norasyikin Musa, who had taken the said food order, was reported saying that she had asked the patron involved to take a look at the siakap fish before it was sent to the kitchen to be cooked.

Norasyikin said the person, however, refused to do so.

“I suggested that they order other fish like red snapper or grouper that weigh around one to 1.5kg which would be more suitable

“I explained to them that a fish weighing around seven kg wasn’t for sale but was kept for display so patrons can look at it,” she was quoted as saying.

Norasyikin denied that her restaurant imposes a surcharge for credit card payments as claimed by Faris in his post.

She said the price of the siakap fish of RM16 for 100 grammes was stated in the restaurant menu.

Yusrizal said the incident could mar Langkawi’s tourism industry as it could give a bad perception to the public, including tourists.

“We understand that for close to two years, businesses have been affected by the movement control order, but they should not put the ‘pressure’ on consumers.

“There could be bad effects on the tourism industry which is just about to revive. As for consumers, I would advise them to report to the ministry so that appropriate action can be taken.

“The enforcement should also play their role so that consumers will be more confident to come forward to make reports,” he said.