Malaysia is to impose price controls on home entertainment products in its fight against piracy despite opposition from the local film and music industries.

According to a recent report released by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the price control mechanism will take effect from 1 January 2004, setting a ceiling retail price on all locally manufactured VCDs and CDs.

The ceiling price for VCDs will be US$3.8 (RM14) while local CDs and foreign CDs will be capped at $5.5 and $7.6 respectively. The current retail prices are between $5 and $11.8.

Ministry director Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin conceded that product piracy has been an issue facing Malaysia for the past 10 years. 'In our attempt to eliminate piracy, we have been mainly going after the pirated CD and VCD sellers. It's high time we tackle the problem with a different approach. We hope that consumers will be more encouraged to buy the genuine products if their prices are reduced.'

To effectively put the new prices in place, Mohd Roslan said that the Ministry will enforce the mechanism under the Price Control Act of 1946. It will become an offence for anyone who sells the VCD or CD products higher than the regulated prices and the person will be fined or compounded.

The price controls will be imposed for one year on a trial basis. The Ministry will review the policy at the end of 2004.