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Saturday January 5, 2008
By MAZWIN NIK ANIS, SYLVIA LOOI, SIRA HABIBU, CAROLYN OOI and STEVEN DANIEL
PUTRAJAYA: Five kilograms – that is the maximum amount of cooking oil that each consumer can buy when a move to solve the shortage of the essential item is enforced next week.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal however did not specify when the move would be implemented to increase stocks of cooking oil, especially in areas like Kelantan, Pahang, Malacca, Kedah and some parts of the Klang Valley where the shelves are getting bare.
He said the ruling would not only apply to those buying cooking oil in hypermarkets or supermarkets but also in smaller retail outlets and grocery stores.
One reason for the shortage was industrial users buying cooking oil in small packets, which is subsidised by the Government, instead of buying it in larger quantities, he said.
“The shortage has also occurred because of the rising population. There are also more businesses such as food production factories and restaurants being opened that use a lot of cooking oil.
“With the restriction in place and the increase in production, we hope to be able to solve the shortage within a week or two.
“At the same time, the ministry will study other measures, including stopping leakages in the distribution system to prevent the problem from recurring,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Asked if the increase in production was permanent or whether the ministry would order an increase again should the problem persist, Shafie said he would have to gauge the results before making decisions.
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 a month.
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