Govt study finds rent-seeking of APs for cabbages

Import permits for round cabbages have been rented to others, according to a government study. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Permits for the import of round cabbages have been found to be rented to others by the permit-holder, a deputy minister is reported to have said today.

Chong Chien Jen, deputy minister for domestic trade, said a market study released by the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) recently had shown that such misuse of APs (approved permits) for the import of round cabbages.

“I think that is what we call rent-seeking, you get commission out of some AP and at the end of the day, that will translate into higher prices for the consumers,” he said, according to Bernama.

Chong said the commission, an agency under the domestic trade ministry, had proposed that the policy for awarding import APs and the recipients be reviewed.

“However, whether to carry out the recommendation is not under my ministry and it falls under other ministry’s power.. I cannot speak on behalf of other ministries but generally, the MyCC study reports AP abuse,” he said.

Chong said the ministry will investigate if there has been any abuse of the permits for the import of flour products and sugar, as alleged in media reports that the permits were available for sale on the Internet.

“So far, we have not received any reports on the misuse of APs issued by this ministry. For instance, the AP for the import of sugar is only issued to manufacturers of food and beverage products and this policy has just been implemented, so far there are no reports of abuse of sugar AP,” he said.

APs for food items such as flour, chicken, meat, sugar and round cabbages were allegedly available online from permit-holders or their agents, according to media reports.