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5kg per buyer limit for cooking oil

Friday January 4, 2008

PUTRAJAYA: Retail sales of cooking oil will be limited to 5kg per buyer from next week, as a short-term measure to solve shortage of the essential household item.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shafie Apdal said the restriction in was necessary to prevent hoarding or panic buying, adding that the ruling would apply to all outlets, inclduing hypermarkets, supermarkets retail outlets and grocery stores.

The minister said manufacturers had been told to increase production by 10% from 48,000 tonnes to 53,886 tonnes a month

"With the restriction in place and the increase in production, we hope to be able to solve the shortage problem within a week or two.

"At the same time, the ministry will study other measures, including to stop leakages in the distribution system to prevent the problem from recurring," he told a press conference Friday.

Among states be experiencing shortages are Kelantan, Pahang, Malacca, Kedah along with some parts of the Klang Valley.

He said smuggling also contributed to the shortage and the ministry had alerted enforcement agencies at the country's north and south borders to conduct strict surveillance to prevent cooking oil from being taken out of the country.

"The shortage has also occurred because of the rising population. There are also more businesses such as restaurants being opened.

"We have been told that industries are also buying oil in small packets, which is subsidised by the government instead of in larger quantities." he said.

Last year, the ministry directed 23 cooking oil manufacturers to increase output to 48,000 tonnes a month, an increase of an additional 3,000 tonnes monthly from 2006.

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