KUCHING: The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) said today that the government was still maintaining the subsidised cooking oil quota in the country at 60,000 metric tons per month.
Its minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said this was done in 2020 and again this year although Refined, Bleached & Deodorised (RBD) Palm Olein had increased by 83 percent to RM4,122 per tonne in 2021 compared to RM2,255 per tonne in 2020.
“This is equivalent to 60 million 1kg polybags for Malaysians including those in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Nanta explained that if the price of RBD Palm Olein continued to show an upward trend, the government expected the cost to increase from RM400 million to RM1.8 billion.
“Therefore, the government’s decision to maintain the quota under the Cooking Oil Price Rationalisation Scheme (COSS) programme shows its commitment to reduce the cost of living and maintain the wellbeing of the people,” he said.
Nanta said the ministry took note of Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen’s claim on the shortage of 1kg packet of subsidised cooking oil in Sarawak as reported in a local English daily on April 12, 2021.
“Based on records, there are 11 subsidised cooking oil packers under the COSS Programme in Sarawak involving a quota of 3,067 metric tons per month,” he said.
He said a review of records also found there were 25 complaints related to cooking oil in Sarawak in 2020 until Mar 31 this year while 4,221 inspections were made on premises selling cooking oil until April 12 this year.
“I appreciate the concerns and suggestions raised by Chong and welcome him to lodge an official report regarding the misconduct among cooking oil packaging companies so that the ministry can conduct an investigation and take appropriate action as soon as possible against the companies involved.
“The ministry would also like to seek the cooperation of the public to report if there are irresponsible activities by any party such as misappropriation of subsidised cooking oil and other controlled items through the ministry’s various complaint channels,” he said.
On the sugar issue, Nanta explained that the selling price of domestic sugar was controlled at a maximum price of RM2.85 per kg for coarse refined white sugar and RM2.95 per kg for refined white sugar for retail sale.
“Meanwhile, the wholesale selling price of sugar for use in the food and beverage industry is set at RM2.77 per kg for coarse refined white sugar and RM2.85 per kg for refined white sugar,” he said.
Nanta added that local food and beverage companies and wholesalers could apply for permits to import refined sugar at any time of the year.
“Eligible applications will be carefully considered by an Evaluation Committee represented by several relevant government agencies including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Malaysian Industrial Investment Authority (MIDA) and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.
“Priority for the issuance of import permits is to any food and beverage manufacturing companies and wholesalers that meet the evaluation criteria that have been set,” he said.
Nanta added that in terms of control over the approval of import permits, continuous monitoring was also carried out on the recipients of the permits to import refined sugar to prevent abuse and misappropriation and enforcement action would be imposed on any party abusing the permits to import refined sugar.