KPDNHEP: Companies selling cooking oil incur license suspensions for misappropriation

File photo depicting KPDNHEP personnel conducting a routine inspection on the prices of cooking oil at a local supermarket.

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KUCHING, March 31: A total of 15 packaging companies had their Cooking Oil Price Stabilisation Scheme (COSS) license suspended while five wholesale companies had their Controlled Goods License (CSA) suspended as of March 28 for misappropriation involving subsidised cooking oil.

According to Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi, the Ministry has conducted 8,843 inspections on premises involved in selling cooking oil, while 25 investigation papers have been opened and 94 premises are still under audit.

He reiterated that cooking oil is a scheduled controlled item under the Control of Supply Act 1961 and any party dealing with this commodity must have a license issued by KPDNHEP.

“Therefore, any party who is found intentionally or attempting to hide or conceal these controlled items, especially packaged cooking oil can be subject to action under Section 15, Control of Supply Act 1961.

“They maybe fined not more than RM1 million or imprisoned not more than three years or both while companies can be fined not more than RM2 million,” he said in response to a question from Senator Balasubramaniam Nachiappan in the Dewan Negara today.

Nanta explained that the main factor behind cooking oil being misappropriated was due to the low control price of RM 2.50 for 1kg polybag subsidised cooking oil, resulting in a significant price gap between that and bottled 5kg cooking oil.

He said although the Government has set that subsidised 1kg polybag cooking oil was only for domestic household use, some traders have also taken the opportunity to use it to reduce operating costs in their businesses.

“Purchases in large quantities by traders at one time have resulted in the supply of polybag cooking oil often running out of stock in grocery stores and supermarkets,” he said.

In addition, he pointed out that the low price compared to neighboring countries have caused it to be a popular item that is often smuggled out of Malaysia.

As such, Nanta said KPDNHEP is actively addressing the issue of lack of supply of subsidised cooking oil in the market through direct inspections and audits at every stage of the cooking oil distribution chain and conducting permit compliance inspections on small traders and restaurant operators.

He also said among others, KPDNHEP is also conducting intelligence on selected manufacturers, packers, wholesalers and retailers for misappropriating subsidised cooking oil, including gathering intelligence in neighboring countries such as Thailand, suspending quotas and licenses on companies involved in embezzlement and smuggling, and setting a three packet purchase limit for polybag cooking oil.

“This includes enhancing cooperation with other enforcement agencies such as the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD), the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM),” he explained. — DayakDaily