Following the announcement of Malaysia’s movement restriction order which started on Wednesday (18 March), the Singapore government stepped up precautionary measures to ensure sufficient essential supplies and food stock for its residents.
On Tuesday (17 March), NTUC Fairprice posted on its Facebook page that a purchase limit for several essential items will be put in place across its stores as a measure to prevent reselling from customers as well as to ensure sufficient supply of daily essential items every customer.
In its post, NTUC Fairprice mentioned that every customer is limited to a purchase of four units of paper products including toilet paper, facial tissues, and kitchen towels.
For food purchasing limits, every customer will only be allowed to buy two units of instant noodles or pasta, two bags of rice, $30 of vegetables, $30 of fresh poultry, and three packs of ten eggs or one tray of 30 eggs.
“We are prepared and ready to meet your daily essential needs. While we recognise there may be concerns regarding the latest movement restriction order from Malaysia, we want to assure all customers that we have sufficient stocks,” NTUC Fairprice said.
NTUC Fairprice then expressed its appreciation towards those who shop in a more measured and responsible manner, purchasing only the things that they needed.
Government assures that essential supplies are stocked and no need for panic-buying
Giving assurance to Singaporeans, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (16 March) that essential supplies have been stocked up over the past two months, adding that Singapore is not in danger of running out of food and other suppliers brought in by retailers.
Mr Chan noted that the government has been actively working with essential firms such as NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong, and Dairy Farm International to increase Singapore’s stock of food and essential supplies over the last two months.
“This means that we are not in danger of running out of food or other supplies brought in by our retailers,” he added.
He then urged everyone to make purchases in a responsible manner and to purchase only what they need or else no amount of stockpiling will be sufficient.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also took to his Facebook on Tuesday (17 March) to reassure the public that the flow of cargo and goods, including food supplies between Singapore and Malaysia, will continue despite the movement restriction in Malaysia.
In his post, PM Lee stated that he is glad to see that there is no sign of hoarding despite long queues in supermarkets.
He mentioned that people are purchasing only the items they need and that Singaporeans are calm, united, and resilient as the government is working towards solving the problems.
Netizens pointed out the loophole in purchase limit, saying it should be stricter on per household rather than per customer
They said that it should be stricter because if more family members go shopping, then more items can be purchased and they can buy again many times as long as it is not done in a single transaction.
Some netizens felt that the purchase limit set by NTUC Fairprice was too high which will create unnecessary waste or excessive purchase, resulting in others having little or zero chance to acquire certain items.
Additionally, a few netizens raised the concern on the rate of replenishment in the shop, where they hope that the shop can speed up on replenishing the shelves to tackle the situation of panic buying.
In addition, a few netizens also suggested that NTUC open more counters and improve their online ordering system – such as increasing delivery slots – to prevent long queues at the stores.
At the same time, a handful others provided few suggestions to prevent the hoarding behaviours of shoppers, such as allowing only baskets for carrying goods, limiting the purchase for every household, and asking the government to provide goods vouchers for the needy.
One netizen urged the public to stop sharing photos in social media as it will only create more panic-buying situation, and to only buy what they need, as well as to give supermarkets some time to replenish their stock.
Concerning the elderly and disabled people in this situation, one netizen also suggested NTUC Fairprice to observe the Australians on how to reserve a purchasing time slot for senior citizens and disabled people.
Some netizens, nonetheless, praised the move of NTUC Fairprice as they believed that a purchase limit can stop the panic-buying behaviours.