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NST – Experts hope Sirim certification will not affect price of face masks

KUALA LUMPUR: The MS SIRIM certification and marking from SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd for non-medical face masks will hopefully not affect the price of the product in the market.

Universiti Putra Malaysia medical epidemiologist and biostatistician Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman said the price of a product that needs to be verified or certified by a certain agency could sometimes be more expensive than before.

“The government’s decision through the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) is indeed a good one to protect individuals from getting infected with Covid-19 as well as to avoid the dumping of poor quality face masks in the market.

“This gazettement is appropriate and should be implemented earlier. I just hope that its enforcement would focus on the epidemic control management and not burden the traders or consumers,” she told Bernama when contacted here today.

She was commenting on KPDNHEP’s statement on Tuesday that all manufacturers and importers of non-medical face masks must apply for MS SIRIM certification and labeling from Sirim QAS International Sdn Bhd effective July 4.

 

The ruling comes following the gazetting of the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking) of Non-Medical Face Mask Order 2022 under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011.

 

Commenting further, Dr Malina said any price increase would definitely affect consumers because face masks are now a part of our daily lives and for traders, they may suffer losses if they cannot clear the existing face mask stock by July 4.

“If they cannot clear the stock, I hope there will be a mechanism that will be introduced so that face masks without MS SIRIM will not be disposed of just like that.

“Maybe we can screen the face masks that can be ‘saved’ so that they can be used, but this needs to get approval from the parties in charge,” she said.

Meanwhile, internal medicine specialist and head of Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sabah Dr Alvin Oliver Payus said although the gazetting was to ensure that face masks in the market met the standards, any price increase will not be appropriate as it will not affect the manufacturing and delivery process.

“All that is needed is a body to monitor the quality of face masks that are on the market…I agree with this enforcement, it is to ensure that people wear face masks that have the best protection.

“Although the country is transitioning to endemic phase, the use of face masks is still compulsory, we are not like the United States where the people no longer need to wear face masks,” he said.

The quality of face masks sold online and bought directly from China, for example, is somewhat doubtful.

“Some non-medical face masks have certain standards, for example KN95, it meets Chinese standards while N95 meets US standards, including Malaysia, but those sold online directly from China, it is difficult for us to ensure the quality,” he said.

Dr Alvin also hoped that the government would give some flexibility to traders to clear the existing stock. — Bernama