Consumer Rights in Malaysia

Do you know your rights as a consumer? Malaysian consumers are protected by several laws and regulations. Perhaps, the most commonly known non-governmental consumers’ organization is the Federation of Malaysian Consumers’ Association (FOMCA) that plays an important role in the society to guard consumers’ rights and interest. Bear in mind that consumers’ rights is more than food issue as it also includes housing, public transportation, human rights, public policy, education and health care services provided within the country.

In fact, there are a total of eight basic consumer rights you need to know to protect your own interest which is categorized into the right to basic needs, safety, information, choose, representation, redress, consumer education and healthy environment.

The right to basic needs ensures that consumers are capable of survival and possess sufficient food, clothing, shelter, necessary healthcare, education and sanitation. You need to learn a little in these key areas to assure that the required basic needs can be obtained at a reasonable price but yet in good quality. Hence, it is important not to be brand conscious but rather, quality conscious. At times, you may think that the most expensive product available in the market is usually in good quality. But the truth is you can actually purchase the same good quality product at lower prices. Of course, you must be able to differentiate the good and bad quality products on your own.

Next up, the right to safety refers to consumers’ rights to be guarded against advertising or marketing of products that may harm your health. Before you buy particular product especially medicines or health-care items, read the label of the product and its instructions. For those with warning sign, “NOT SUITED FOR CHILDREN BELOW FOUR (4) YEARS”, consumers are encouraged to abide the instruction for safety reasons.

The right to information refers to consumers’ rights against misleading information printed on the product. Consumers have the rights to know the truth before making final decision on whether to purchase the product or not. Consumers must check out the product by reading information such as ingredients used and expiry date which is printed on the label.

Meanwhile, the right to choose refers to consumers’ freedom to pick products desired from a variety of manufacturers provided it is in good quality. The right to representation is consumers’ freedom to voice consumer interests when government forms new policies.

Listed on the basic rights of consumer – the right of redress refers to consumers’ right to get a refund or compensation for any misrepresentation or services that are deemed unsatisfactory. When consumers face such situation, consumers can request for a replacement or refund. If the defective items bought earlier can be repaired, you may also go back to the store to get it fixed.

The right to consumer education which is listed as the seventh consumer right on the list means that you possess the right to obtain knowledge or skills in order to become a knowledgeable customer. The society has branded consumer education is one of the most important campaign to increase awareness among consumers regarding their rights.

Lastly, the right to healthy environment is extremely important that refers to consumers’ right to stay in a healthy environment which is danger-free. As a responsible consumer, you may also help to keep the environment safe by practicing 3R – reduce, reuse and recycle.