KLANG: The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) will intensify enforcement to curb the smuggling and misappropriation of subsidised cooking oil to neighbouring countries.
Its minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi admitted that the crime was rampant in states bordering neighbouring countries including Kedah, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak due to the high price of the commodity on the global market.
"From January until Tuesday (July 5), the authorities have seized RM1.5mil in value in the four states, involving 61 cases," he told a press conference after visiting the Carsome Certified Lab here on Wednesday (July 6).
According to him, the packaged oil priced at RM2.50 per kg in Malaysia is sold at a much higher price in countries like Thailand (RM12.60 per kg); Indonesia (RM14.27 per kg); Philippines (RM11.23 per kg) and Singapore (RM12.33 per kg).
"We admit that smuggling is not something new, but in the past it was not significant because the price difference between subsidised cooking oil and non-subsidised oil was small due to the low market price of crude palm oil (CPO).
"However, the CPO price has risen between RM4,000 to RM5,000 per tonne, thus fuelling more smuggling incidents," he said.
Apart from that, he said enforcement cooperation in the land and sea border areas between the police, army and customs was needed to thwart attempts to smuggle subsidised goods.
On the allegedly insufficient supply of packaged cooking oil in the home market, Nanta said the current allocation of 60,000 tonnes should meet domestic demand as data showed Malaysians only need 55,000 tonnes.
"The only problem we are facing now is in terms of distribution, apart from leakage and smuggling and diversion of cooking oil abroad,” he said adding that subsidised cooking oil meant for household use had also been detected to be channeled to traders for use in restaurants.
He said the ministry would continue to monitor and take legal action against those involved in the abuse of subsidised cooking oil. - Bernama