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Covid-19 self-test kits are selling like hot cakes across the country.
The increase in demand has been fueled by new variants of Covid-19 such as Delta and Omicron, making it difficult to return to normal life whether at school, work or travel.
In an ideal world, Covid-19 self-test kits would either be free or just a few ringgits, so people could test constantly.
The authorities imposed a ceiling pricebut the price is still far too high for regular use by many people.
Sinar Harian reported that families spend between RM300 and 1,000 per month trying to protect their family and others.
In many cases, self-testing kits are needed for people who are quarantined at home because they test positive for COVID-19
Housewife Nor Fizah Yusof, 48, said she and her husband had to spend around RM600 to cover the expenses of five days of self-quarantine at home.
Before our six children tested positive for Covid-19 in early February, almost RM200 had to be spent on self-test kits, with another RM200 on smear tests.
Housewife Nor Fizah Yusof on the expense inflicted by Covid-19 on her family.
For food, the family spent RM200. So, in total, they spent about RM600 during the self-quarantine at home.
Bank executive Amira Aida Suhada Zulkepli, 24, spent RM150 to buy a self-test kit after coming into close contact with a co-worker infected with Covid-19.
This does not include purchasing food for lunch and dinner through Grab Food and Foodpanda. It’s about RM280 per week. Therefore, it is expensive and it is a substantial increase in my monthly expenses.
Bank executive Amira Aida on Covid-19 inflicted expenses.
Their grievances are taken up by Internet users on social networks.
They complained that the price cap only applies to certain brands and that the cheapest ones are always out of stock.
For Malaysians looking for quick answers through online shopping, the cheapest self-test kits available are RM6.99.
The cheapest brand sells for Rm 4.90 but as mentioned by netizens, it is sold out.
At the same time, consumers could get cheaper ones in physical stores.
MR DIY sells a self-test kit for Rm 5.80! Good to see affordable prices for the Alhamdulillah self test kit now. Hopefully it will be cheaper in the future. pic.twitter.com/6dRsDkcNw7
— Anas Hayyan (@AnasHayyan) November 22, 2021
Despite the increase in demand, there is no limit to the number of self-test kits people can buy.
Tax relief for the Covid-19 test
Malaysia’s Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has announced a Covid-19 test tax relief that applies to individual taxpayers.
Taxpayers can also claim up to RM1,000 for Covid-19 vaccination costs for themselves, spouses and children.
The tax relief is contained in amendments to the Income Tax Act 1967 which were tabled in December 2021.
READ MORE: Covid-19 test kits and vaccines are tax deductible for the year 2021
The amount of expenses must be justified by a receipt and supporting documents.