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Panic buying and rumours of price increases blamed

Saturday January 5, 2008

IPOH: Panic buying as a result of rumours of price hikes has been identified as the cause of a shortage in cooking oil and flour in Perak.

State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Department director Ahmad Nasir Khosri said checks showed that there was ample supply of the two items in the state.

Speaking to reporters after meeting manufacturers, re-packers and hypermarkets here, Ahmad Nasir said consumers should continue to buy according to their needs.

Ahmad Nasir also noted that there were consumers in Perak who bought additional cooking oil and flour for their relatives in neighbouring states following reports of shortages there.

He urged consumers to call the department hotline at 05-249 3403 if they were facing a shortage in their area.

In Malacca, state human resource, health and domestic trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Datuk Ab. Karim Sulaiman said the shortage of cooking oil in the state was expected to be over within two days.

In Penang, State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Lau Chiek Tuan said there would be ample supply of cooking oil in a few days.

He said that after the higher demand during the recent Deepavali and Hari Raya, cooking oil re-packers “now have 100% of their subsidised cooking oil quota for January.”

The people should thus avoid panic buying, said Lau.

In Alor Star, some retailers had to go all out to get enough supply for their customers.

Retailer Mohd Kamil Abdul Majid, 53, who operates a sundry shop in Pekan Bukit Pinang in Kepala Batas here, said he had been experiencing cooking oil shortage for about a month.

“If I get it from other retail shops, my profit is only 10 sen. If I source from wholesalers, my profit is 20 sen a packet,” he said, adding that cooking oil was sold at RM2.70 per packet.

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