Govt urged to control sale of 1kg cooking oil

sm IdrisPETALING JAYA: Consumer groups are urging the government to work out a system to prevent abuse of the cooking oil subsidy for the poor.

They have expressed fear that unscrupulous people would find a way to profit by exploiting the subsidy on cooking oil sold in 1kg polythene bags.

Speaking to FMT, Consumers Association of Penang President SM Mohamed Idris said the government should impose a limit on the number of polybags a person could buy. Otherwise, he added, there would be people who would buy more than they would personally need and then use the oil for commercial purposes.

“Restaurants and rich households will buy them,” he said.

“If the subsidy is abused, then there is really no point in selling the oil at subsidised prices.”

He said CAP had recommended “a long time ago” that the government come up with a ration card to be given to the poor. “With that, they can buy goods that are subsidised.”

Nadzim Johan of Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia said unscrupulous people were bound to “sweep the 1kg bags off the shelf”.

“Subsidies must be targeted,” he said. “The government must develop a way to ensure that only the poor enjoy the subsidised oil.

“Why give people the opportunity to abuse the system? If that happens, it will be a result of failure to control the situation.”

Ideally, he said, an abuse-prevention mechanism should have been put in place a few months before the government made the announcement that it was removing the cooking oil subsidies.

Yesterday, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin announced the end of subsidies for cooking oil, except for the 1kg cooking pack, which will still retail at RM2.50.