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Cooking oil production quota could be increased


January 9, 2008

Cooking oil production quota could be increased - Deputy PM

The Malaysian government could increase the cooking oil production quota to overcome the shortage of the essential item although the measure would cost the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

He said panic buying by a lot of consumers and smuggling of cooking oil to neighbouring countries had been identified as the causes of the problem although the supply figures showed that it should not have happen.

"We have to increase the quota due to panic buying by consumers. But this will be a loss to the country.

"The price of our cooking oil is much lower and that is why it is being smuggled to neighbouring countries," he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call by India's Defence Minister A.K. Anthony at Wisma Pertahanan here Monday.

He said if the government raised the price of cooking oil instead, it would burden consumers, and this is putting the government in a dilemma.

On Sunday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry's enforcement division director-general Mohd Roslan Mahayudin said the cooking oil supply problem could be resolved within two weeks, with all 23 palm oil mills in the country ordered to increase their production quota by 10 per cent from Monday.

He was also quoted as saying that the quota increase would raise supply to 53,886 tonnes from 48,988 tonnes. Najib said enforcement could be carried out but the smuggling of cooking oil at the border areas was difficult to solve.

"This is not the first time it's happening but had occurred from time to time. I suspect it's because the price (of cooking oil) is much higher now than before."

Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka and Kedah are among the states worst affected by the shortage, following which the government decided to limit the purchase to five kilogrammes of cooking oil per person effective Monday.

On reports that flour is also in short supply, Najib said he had asked the relevant ministry to take the necessary action.

Courtesy Bernama

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