National Consumer Policy (NCP)1. POLICY STATEMENT
The NCP focuses on initiatives to inculcate self-protection by the consumers and self-regulation by the traders / manufacturers, and to achieve an effective consumer protection level which will provide an environment that is conducive for the establishment of a fair market and sustainable developments in tandem with the local and global economic developments.
2. RATIONALE OF THE NATIONAL CONSUMER POLICY
2.1 The ultimate goal of national development is to improve the quality of life of the people who are also consumers. The consumer’s dependency on goods and services in the market calls for a comprehensive policy to ensure that consumers and traders will play their roles and perform their respective responsibilities for the sustainable economic growths of the country. Consumers play important roles in driving domestic economic development to cushion the effects of the global economic turmoil.
2.2 In this context, the NCP is needed as the basis, principles and guidance in the formulation of policies and laws related to consumer welfare, particularly the aspects of consumer protection for the benefit of the consumers. The NCP should also be taken into account in the formulation of economic or social policies of the country. This policy is the basis of all consumerism-related activities by government agencies, Consumers' Associations, other non-governmental organisations and the private sector in such a way that the culture of consumerism and sustainable production may be enhanced in the country.
2.3 The establishment of the NCP is required to reduce the impact of globalisation on consumers, traders and the government. The diversity of goods and services and the technological advancements due to the economic liberalisation and globalisation will alter the legal, economic, trade strategy and social aspects of a country.
2.4 The NCP is required to create consumer communities who practise self-protection by being smart, well-informed, proactive and responsible, able to influence the activities of the suppliers / manufacturers and sensitive to their actions and behaviours that will influence the social and economic situations of the country. Consumers who are capable and unified under the theme "1 Consumer 1 Voice" possess great power capabilities in determining the goods and services that should be available in the Malaysian market.
2.5 The trading community plays a very important role in determining the well-being of consumers. In particular, traders who are ethical, practise self-regulation responsible and honest will be able to contribute to the welfare and well-being of the consumers.
2.6 The NCP is required to achieve the Government's vision to heighten the awareness and knowledge among the consumers and traders on their rights and their responsibilities while working together in achieving a comprehensive national prosperity. The NCP forms the basis of the programme in preparing the consumers and traders who are capable of playing active roles a high-income developed country.
3. NATIONAL CONSUMER POLICY GOALS
3.1 The NCP was formulated based on the ecological approach which recognises the reciprocity between consumers and systems surrounding them, such as economic, social and political systems. In particular, consumers interact and are mutually influence and being influenced by the surrounding systems.
3.2 NCP has been formulated with three (3) of the following goals:
3.2.1 (i)To produce consumers who are capable and practice self-protection. (ii) Capable consumers are those who have access to information and benefit from competitiveness in utilising information, knowledge and self-reliance. (iii)Capable consumers are also those who are able to protect themselves and are aware of every decision when dealing in the market.
3.2.2 To enhance self-regulation among traders
Self-regulation is an endeavour to develop and manage the regulations and practices in the market imposed by the traders or operators themselves. It is a collective activity with the involvement and support from all sectors to comply with the regulations which has been formulated and mutually agreed upon. Self-regulation is a voluntary activity and the people involved understand fully the form of benefits to be derived from such endeavours.
3.2.3 To increase the effectiveness of consumer protection
Effective consumer protection should be the responsibility of all parties. The government plays a role in the enforcement and overall coordination of the welfare of the consumers and the traders.
4. OBJECTIVES OF THE NATIONAL CONSUMER POLICY
4.1 The objectives of the NCP have been identified to achieve the three goals of the NCP. These objectives were formulated to determine the direction of the NCP goals and outline the strategies that should be implemented in achieving the goals. Specifically, the objectives are formulated to achieve the goals that have been identified for all the stakeholders: consumers, traders and the government. The entire ecosystem will lead to attaining the NCP vision which is to improve the well-being of consumers through fair market practices.
4.1.1 To produce consumers who are capable of self-protection
The objectives to produce consumers who are capable of self-protection are as follows:
(i) To enhance the quality, quantity and access to information
(ii) To produce responsible and ethical consumers
(iii) To develop effective consumer movement
(Iv) To increase the capability of vulnerable consumers in terms of resources and protection
4.1.2 To enhance self-regulation among the traders
The objectives for improving self-regulation among the traders are as follows:
(i) To produce ethical and socially responsible traders
(ii) To encourage self-regulatory practices among the traders / manufacturers
(iii) To develop consume conscious markets
4.1.3 To increase the effectiveness of consumer protection
The objectives to improve the effectiveness of consumer protection are as follows:
(i) To strengthen consumers’ protection rules and regulations
(ii) To develop an efficient, easy and user-friendly redress system
(iii) To establish a coordination mechanism among the agencies involved in consumer protection
(iv) To strengthen consumer protection through the application of the Standards
(v) To extend consumer protection to the Regional and International level
(vi) To develop quality human resources
The following strategies may be implemented to achieve the objectives based on the goals set.
(A) To produce consumers who are capable and practise self- protection
The strategies to achieve the objectives with the purpose of producing consumers who are capable of implementing self-protection practices are as follows:
5.1 To enhance the quality, quantity and access to information
5.1.1 To provide an interaction platform between consumers and the government
5.1.2 To enhance consumer access to accurate information
5.1.3 To increase publications and circulation of consumer-related materials
5.2 To produce responsible and ethical consumers
5.2.1 To mainstream consumer education
5.2.2 To augment the effectiveness of consumer education programmes
5.2.3 To monitor Malaysian consumers’ current level of achievement
5.2.4 To create an environment that allows consumers to function effectively in the market.
5.3 To develop effective consumer movements
5.3.1 To strengthen the functions of consumer associations / movements
5.3.2 To enhance networking between the government and associations / NGOs
5.3.3 To enhance outreach programmes
5.4 To improve the capabilities of vulnerable consumers in terms of resources and protection
5.4.1 To enhance the protection of vulnerable consumers
(B) To Enhance Self- Regulation Among Traders
The strategies used to achieve the objectives with the purpose of enhancing self-regulation among traders are as follows:
5.5 To produce ethical and socially responsible traders
5.5.1 To increase initiatives to inculcate universal noble values
5.5.2 To mainstream the Code of Ethics in business practices
5.6 To encourage self-regulatory practices among traders / manufacturers
5.6.1 To increase understanding of self-regulatory benefits
5.6.2 To give recognition to traders who practise self-regulation
5.6.3 To improve self-regulatory monitoring within the industry
5.7 To develop consumer-conscious markets
5.7.1 To improve consumer-conscious business practices
5.7.2 To create an environment, relationships and business policies which are consumer-centric
5.7.3 To enhance the role of business organisations in the wake of the consumer-conscious markets
(C) To Increase the Effectiveness of Consumer Protection
The strategies to achieve the objectives with the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of consumer protection are as follow:
5.9 To strengthen consumer protection laws and regulations
5.9.1 To facilitate and improve the legal environment for traders and consumers
5.9.2 To institutionalise evidence-based planning
5.9.3 To increase the effectiveness of law enforcement
5.10 To develop an efficient, easy and user-friendly redress system
5.10.1 To establish efficient and effective consumer complaints mechanisms
5.10.2 To provide problem solving service delivery system that is fast and inexpensive
5.10.3 To monitor the accessibility and effectiveness of solution mechanisms.
5.10.4 To develop solution mechanisms for e-commerce.
5.11 To establish coordination mechanism among agencies involved in consumer protection
5.11.1 To create a mechanism for exchange of consumer protection information at the national level.
5.11.2 To establish a consumer research and education centre
5.12 To strengthen consumer protection through the application of the Standards
5.12.1 To increase awareness of goods and services safety standards
5.12.2 To raise standards and consumer goods labelling system
5.13 To develop quality human resources
5.13.1 To equip the KPDNKK officials and leaders of consumer organisations with basic consumerism skills to improve effectiveness.
6. CREATION OF A MALAYSIAN CONSUMER VALUE
6.1 Consumer value is an important principle that guides one, in particular the consumers towards a hassle-free experience where market is concerned. Values held by the consumers influence their practices and decision-making.
6.2 There are five (5) values which need to be embedded in the culture of Malaysian consumers:
(I) The value of money (knowing the rights as consumers, traders / manufacturers and civil servants). Human rights are at the heart of the consumer movement, particularly the rights of individuals to ensure that their basic needs are fulfilled.
(ii) The humane value caring. The consumer movement is a group of people who care about other people. Instilling values to others regardless of race, religion and status will create a more harmonious and fair market.
(iii) The value of democracy knowing our rights acting as a group will make a difference. Consumers and traders / manufacturers may use collective powers to protect consumer interests and act against those who threaten the rights of consumers and traders / manufacturers.
(iv) The value of justice (fight to uphold justice). Political and economic systems often discriminate against those who are powerless. Consumers may develop a more just, rational and fair community through advocacy practices and the championing of the well being of consumers.
(V) The value of the environment (to protect the earth). Consumers must protect, control and preserve the environment from any damaging threats and contamination. Consumers, traders and the government need to know the impact of their actions on the environment in order for the earth's resources to not exploited, thus causing negative impact on the public.
7. VISION OF THE POLICY
The success towards the achievement of the NCP goal is dependent on the concerted efforts of all parties; consumers, traders, the government and non-governmental bodies. Since the consumer issues have an ‘across the board’ impact upon various ministries and agencies, a coordinating body needs to be established to ensure the achievement of the set goals. With concerted efforts and roles of all parties, the goals of the National Consumer Policy are achievable in order to create a consumer community which is dynamic, progressive, of quality, possessing consumer values to drive a fair and ethical market environment in tandem with the Vision 2020.
Last Update : 12 March 2013