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Checks to ensure smooth flow of cooking oil

PUTRAJAYA: More checks on smuggling and hoarding and an increase in production. These measures should solve the shortage of cooking oil nationwide.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal said certain states had already shown improvement such as in Kelantan and Terengganu where refiners have been instructed to send consignments directly to the outlets.

The situation in Malacca, Pahang, Perlis and Kedah should be resolved by the end of the week, he added.

Shafie said part of the additional consignment of 15,000 tonnes a month would be sent to hypermarkets and supermarkets in various states, including the Klang Valley soon to meet demand.

He said so far no one had been caught smuggling subsidised cooking oil at border towns.

“There will be enough cooking oil for everyone and no one need worry.

“The production for local consumption is also more than adequate,” he told reporters at the ministry's monthly gathering yesterday.

Shafie said a consultant was conducting a study on the price increase of all goods in the country.

The aim is to predict future price hikes and the supply and demand curve.

“The consultants have been told to pin down the important issues and to address the issue of price increase in controlled items to be fair to the industry and consumers,” he said.

In Johor Baru, Pacific Oil and Fats Industries Sdn Bhd (Pac Oil) general manager Syed Mohammad Hussain Shah said his company was able to produce up to 3,000 tonnes of packed cooking oil monthly but the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) only allowed them to produce 421 tonnes.

“They had increased it to 598 tonnes for this month but we are able to produce much more,” he said.

Syed Mohammad said MPOB should review its allocation of quota in order to alleviate the current cooking oil shortage affecting households and smaller consumers in the country.

He said demand from domestic consumers for cooking oil was about 45,000 tonnes monthly.

“The consumer is not getting the product because there is another market segment for palm oil for hoteliers, hawkers and other traders where the oil is packed in 15kg and 20kg bottles.

“Consumers are buying 1kg, 2kg and 5kg packages but the other market segments are also buying the oil in bulk,” he said.

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