SHAH ALAM (Bernama): The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has foiled an attempt to misappropriate 18,000kg of cooking oil, 8,775 kg of which were subsidised 1kg packets.
The ministry's Selangor director Muhammad Zikril Azan Abdullah said raids carried out on two stores in Puchong found that the embezzlement activity was done by cutting the 1kg packets of subsidised cooking oil and transferring them to a skid tank to be bottled as 2kg and 5kg and sold for higher prices.
He said four locals and a foreigner, suspected to be an Indonesian, between the age of 30 and 50, identified as the owners of the premises were arrested to assist in the investigation.
He added that two lorries, a skid tank, forklift, cut 1kg plastic packets and bottles of cooking oil used to make the transfer were confiscated. The value of these items is RM245,000.
"Based on the documents found, the subsidised cooking oil was supposed to be distributed to wholesalers and licensed retailers around the Klang Valley. However, these were misappropriated and taken to the target location to be repackaged in bottles before being distributed to the domestic market and believed to be smuggled into a neighbouring country,” he said in a statement today.
He said preliminary evidence from the company's owners revealed that the premises had been operating since the beginning of this year and it had received about 50,000 subsidised packets (1kg) per month from licensed suppliers around the Klang Valley to be distributed to wholesalers and retailers but had been misappropriated to make illegal profits.
Muhammad Zikril Azan said further investigations would continue and that the wholesaler's licence will be suspended pending the investigation process.
Muhammad Zikril Azan added that the ministry would conduct a more detailed investigation to track down the masterminds behind the activities that resulted in the government suffering millions of ringgit in losses due to the misappropriation of subsidised cooking oil.- Bernama