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'No' to foreigners taking controlled foodstuff out of country

JOHOR BARU: Foreigners who shop in Malaysia should be prohibited from taking foodstuff categorised as controlled items out of the country.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal said he would present this proposal at the Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

"The prices of these controlled items are already subsidised by the Government.

"Prohibiting (foreigners) from bringing out these foodstuff is one way of avoiding shortages," he told pressmen Tuesday after a briefing and dialogue about the price increase of goods for civil servants here.

Shafie added that foreigners should not be entitled to such subsidies as the Government was spending quite a lot to subsidise the items.

He explained that the Government spent some RM635mil on subsidised cooking oil while some RM60bil was spent on subsidised cylinders of gas between 1997 and last year.

"Foreigners, especially from neighbouring countries, are welcome to buy and take back other items such as watches and shirts as we want to promote tourism.

"We even allow them to buy petrol and diesel with limitations but Malaysia is not a place to get subsidisation," he said adding that Customs and Immigration were expected to enforce the ruling at every exit and entry point after the proposal is approved.

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