KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6:

If you’re eating out, there are some restaurants which ‘force’ customers to buy bottled water, sometimes pricing this even higher than carbonated drinks or fruit juices.

Among restaurants which only serve bottled water are Nando’s and Madam Kwan’s, with the waiters and management firmly insisting tap water won’t be served and only house-branded bottles on offer.

Other restaurants also offer premium branded bottled water, with the price ranging anywhere from RM4 to RM25 each. The charges vary because there is no control over bottled water pricing.

The issue of high priced bottled water has arisen as it now costs more than a litre of petrol – leading to some calling for people to boycott all brands of 500ml bottled mineral water priced above RM1.

“The cost for that 500ml of bottled mineral water is just about 50 sen and after taking into account the 70% profit, it should be sold at a price not more than RM1,” said The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan.

He also commented that in some places, it is being priced at RM3.50 per bottle compared to the normal price of RM1 adding that the price of bottled water is now higher than the new price of a litre of petrol.

With that being said, other restaurant outlets such as Pizza Hut, Esquire Kitchen or Secret Recipe do offer the option of providing their customers with plain water to drink but it is usually priced between 50 sen to RM2.50.

What is more surprising is that outlets that are perceived to be more economical such as mamaks and chinese hawker outlets also charge their customers for plain drinking water usually at the range of 30 sen to 50 sen.

However, hope is not lost.

There are many restaurants and food outlets out there which still offer drinking water for free to their customers. Outlets such as Italiannies, TGI Fridays, Delicious as well as many others offer the option of free drinking water, hot or cold to their customers.

Some restaurants, perceived as being more family-friendly, also offer hot water for parents to prepare milk for babies.

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