Last week we went to Miri and as usual in the evening we went to a restaurant near Miri River mouth savoring lalapan ayam, an Indonesian cuisine.

We are kind of regular at the restaurant having frequented it since our daughter was a toddler and now she is in a kindy.

Kopi or coffee with milk in 2016 cost less than RM2.00, this year avarage price in Bintulu is RM2.30.

The restaurant serves one of the tastiest sambal we’ve ever known and how the sambal is made is considered a trade secret – a closely guarded one. If you ask any Malay restaurants in town, they will swear theirs is the best!

But last weekend, we noted something rather odd. Our last visit was in February. The sambal often served almost in full plate. Now, less than half.

The chicken thighs – often the biggest or they will served you two thighs if it was not the regular size. Now only one – small thigh.

I didn’t ask the waiter why. But you know that Ahmad Maslan lied when he said when Goods and Services Tax (GST) implemented price of goods would go down.

The rate of inflation for March soaring to its highest level in nearly nine years, with the consumer price index (CPI) rising 5.1%. Thank to the higher fuel prices – eg., petrol rose 23% from a year ago.

The Department of Statistics said that apart from transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 4.1%, recreation services and culture 3%, health 2.6%, restaurants and hotels 2.3%, and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 2.1%.

“The average price of one litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.29 in March 2017 compared with RM1.60 in March 2016. As for RON97, the average price increased to RM2.59 in March 2017 compared with RM1.95 in March 2016,” said the Department of Statistics in a statement yesterday.

In the breakdown of inflation, the Department of Statistics said the rise in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages, which accounts for 30.2% in the CPI weights, was led by oils and fats with a rise of 38.8%.

Higher fuel prices sent the rate of inflation for March soaring to its highest level in nearly nine years, with the consumer price index (CPI) rising 5.1%.

The price of cooking oil was nearly 50% higher in March. The non-food index rose 5.6%. It said the price of fish and seafood was 5.2% higher, followed by vegetables at 4.8%, meat 3.7% and fruits 3.7%.

With prices rising nearly across the board, the department noted the other food items that saw a big increase in price.

Apart from cooking oil, the price of watermelon was 15.4% higher, spinach 10.9%, prawn 9.1%, and a host of other foodstuff experienced substantial hikes in cost.

Eating away from home cost more in March and showed an increase of 4.4% – explaining why certain restaurant such as the one in Miri have to be creative to maintain price and profit.

In Bintulu price for a cup of “kopi” or coffee with milk cost vary from RM2 to RM2.80. Prices of goods once go up rarely go down.