KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Retail Association (MRA) is urging the government to make a firm decision over the black shoe ruling for schools nationwide.
According to MRA President James Loke, this is because school shoes are manufactured and produced a year ahead in order to ensure that there is sufficient stock in the market.
“As a retailer, we are concerned because manufacturers take a year to plan production. In short, we wish to appeal to the minister for more engagement with stakeholders,” he told reporters during a press conference held at MRA headquarters.
Loke was responding to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, who said on Sunday (July 22), that all government schools nationwide will be given up to a year to enforce the black shoe ruling, following public calls for a grace period.
At present, Loke pointed out that 70-80% of school shoes in the market are white.
“We believe many white shoes are already made or at various stages of productions. Many retailers have already ordered hundreds and thousands of school shoes for next year.
“To this end, there may not be sufficient supplies of black shoes to cater to such a sudden market demand in so short a time frame.”
MRA council member Datuk Dr Ameer Ali Mydin, who was also present during the press conference, echoed similar sentiments.
“Frankly , I don’t think this has been thought through. I would have thought the minister would say that this (ruling) is a suggestion. The ministry seriously needs to come out with a clear statement, a written one to the industry so we all know what to do next. ”
“Our concern is that we don’t know what we read in the newspapers is an official statement,” he added.
Dr Ameer pointed out that manufacturers cater to seven million students nationwide, an uncertainty could lead to an excess of school shoes being manufactured in the market.
“What will happen to all the white shoes in the market which are already in the millions?”
With the excess stocks, Dr Ameer warned that retailers may be forced to pass down the cost to ordinary Malaysians.
“Don’t forget, if you think retailers will bear the costs, you are wrong. If we make a loss, we will find a way to make money.
“There will be some way where the cost will be passed down somewhere. Somebody has to bear the cost and most definitely it will not be retailers,” he said.
Source: The Star