Panic buying as supply of cooking oil depletes in Manjung

oilLUMUT: Panic buying by the public has led to some retail stores and supermarkets around Manjung running short of supplies. In fact, some traders have been wiped out since Wednesday.

According to grocery store owner Azmi Nor, 40, customers started buying bottled cooking oil since last week and he had to contact his wholesaler several times to stock up.

Azmi said there were some who bought two or three five-litre bottles at a time ignoring his pleas.

“When a customer buys more than what is required, what about the needs of others? And when there is a short supply, I get blamed for hoarding the cooking oil,” he told Bernama here today.

Another customer, Shahrudin Razali, 33, said he was disappointed because the cooking oil brand he wanted could not be found even though he had gone to several stores.

“Instead the only cooking oil brand available in the supermarkets were the house brand, this must be the effect of the announcement made on Wednesday,” he said.

On Wednesday, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainudin announced that the price of the 1 kg package of cooking oil would remain at RM2.50, but bottled cooking oil would be sold at market price with the removal of the government subsidy effective Nov 1.

Meanwhile, a check by Bernama at several grocery stores and supermarkets around Bagan Datoh and Teluk Intan found only packaged cooking oil being sold at RM2.50

A retail shop owner in Bagan Datoh, who wanted to be known only as Zam, said the wholesaler had not been supplying him cooking oil since last week and he had to buy his stock from hypermarkets.

“Even though there is no profit made in reselling them, I still do it because some of the residents here do not have the means to travel to Teluk Intan or Hutan Melintang just to buy cooking oil.

“If the supply of packaged cooking oil runs out, I do not know where else to go,” he said.

“Pisang goreng” seller Samsudin Jaafar, 42, from Teluk Intan, said packaged cooking oil was still available at certain supermarkets and grocery stores but not bottled cooking oil.

“I still have supplies to last me for a few more days, once it is finished I may have to close shop,” he said.

Samsudin also expressed concern over the current cooking oil shortage as this could lead to some traders raising food prices.