ALOR SETAR: The shortage of subsidised cooking oil is nothing new for target groups in Kedah, who have not seen it on sale for some time.
Describing the shortage as critical, many lamented that the subsidised cooking oil was not reaching the target group.
Ahmad Zuber Abu Kari, 55, a mini market operator in Jalan Kuala Kedah here, said the shortage of oil did not only affect consumers but also small-time traders like him.
"The shortage is terrible. We have people, especially those from the lower-income group, who want to buy the 1kg packets but we have to say 'no' to them," he said on Tuesday (July 5).
Ahmad Zuber, who has been operating the shop for ten years, said although authorities often conduct operations to monitor the sales of 1kg cooking oil packets, the problem remains unresolved.
Housewife Zainab Harun, 37, who buys the subsidised oil, said that the shortage was acute now.
"Previously, we were allowed to buy only 2kg each but now, we sometimes cannot find it for sale at all."
She said she had to spend more money to buy unsubsidised cooking oil for household use.
"I hope that authorities will do more to ensure that there is sufficient stock of subsidised cooking oil for those from lower-income groups like me," she said.
Another consumer, who only wanted to be known as Roslan, said the Federal Government's move to provide subsidised cooking oil to lower-income groups was a noble effort, but said authorities must ensure people were able to buy it.
"What use is the subsidy if there is no stock for Malaysians to buy," he questioned.
Federation of Malay Hawkers and Small Traders Association (Gapema) Kedah chapter president Baharudin Mohamad Ali said authorities must increase operations to monitor the illegal distribution of subsidised cooking oil.
"Enforcement operations must not only be conducted at small grocery stores but also at big suppliers and producers.
"There is a possibility that the subsidised 1kg packets are being smuggled out but only the authorities have the power to stop it," he said.