COSMETIC products sold openly at night markets, kiosks in shopping malls and sundry shops are a cause for concern.
Mother of two, Noraini Othman, said some of these products could be dangerous as they might contain potentially harmful ingredients.
Nevertheless, because they are cheap and easily available, they appeal to consumers, especially teenagers.
One can get fake versions of high-end brands such as Huda Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics and Mac Cosmetics for as low as RM9, whereas the original products would cost between RM80 to RM300, she added.
“Many customers do not care if the products are fake or dangerous, be it international brands or local ones.
“All that matters to them is that they are attuned to the latest trends and the cosmetics are affordable,” she said.
Noraini wants to know what the authorities are doing to address the issue.
The Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Enforcement Division said it was continuously monitoring and inspecting cosmetic products sold in the market as well as investigating products complained by consumers.
Its deputy director Mazlan Ismail said the division would do routine sampling tests on cosmetics products in the market and action would be taken against those that tested positive for harmful substances.
He added that investigations were also carried out on products that have been reported by consumers.
Mazlan advised the public to lodge a report with the division if they found any suspicious or dangerous product in the market.
He said they could visit npra.moh.gov.my, go to the Contact Us menu and choose the Inquiry/Complaint option.
He urged consumers to fill in the form with details such as the name of the product, the shop where it was sold, the price and other data that could assist investigation.
They can also call 603-7883 5400 ext 5547/8549/5551 /8545/5546 to lodge a report.
“We do continuous checks and inspections but it is always helpful to have the public report and complain to us if they suspect something amiss,” he said.
He added that it was difficult to prevent such products, especially fake ones, from entering the market if there was a demand for them.
“Cosmetics are self-regulated. The sellers only need to notify the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency and if the product is approved, a notification number will be given.
“Cosmetics are not like medicine which need to be registered with the ministry.
“For medicine, the government must give an assurance that the product or medicine is safe to consume.
“It is different for cosmetics. The person bringing in the product or producing it must make sure it is safe
for users,” he said, adding that the notification process had no clinical testing procedures.
He added that producers of cosmetic products were not required to print the notification number on the packaging.
Mazlan said these products previously needed to be registered but this had changed after Malaysia signed the harmonisation agreement with Asean countries, allowing products to move more easily between the 10 member states.
The onus is now on the cosmetic producers and importers to ensure that the products are safe for use, he added.