Cooking oil stocks running out
MONEY can’t buy cooking oil, cries the headline of a story in China Press.
The government’s announcement last week that the price of cooking oil will increase from Nov 1 due to the withdrawal of its subsidy has prompted a rush for the item.
According to the daily, a check with several hypermarket chains in the Klang Valley showed that consumers have emptied their shelves of cooking oil, and those who did not join the rush are now worried that they cannot get cooking oil in the immediate future.
Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia president Hong Chee Meng said most sundry shops have run out of cooking oil and new stocks are not due anytime soon.
He said sundry goods merchants could only wait for now as manufacturers await more details from the government.
Hong told China Press that the rush had started several days ago and “now, most sundry shops have no more stock of cooking oil”.
“We can’t tell for how long the situation will stay like this: it all depends on further announcements by the manufacturers and government.”
Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations of Malaysia president Yow Boon Choon said its members were not affected by the shortage of cooking oil so far, and saw the rush as a knee-jerk reaction.
He believed that to keep their customers, hawkers would not raise their prices in tandem with the anticipated rise in cooking oil price unless other costs such as the prices of ingredients also go up.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani disclosed that the government had been losing more than RM500 million a year due to cooking oil smuggling activities.
He said the government had been subsidising 85,000 tonnes of cooking oil a month when studies showed that Malaysians consumed only 40,000 tonnes of it.
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