SERIAN: As of yesterday, a total of 2,517 grocery shops had applied for the licence to sell controlled items in Sarawak, with 209 of the applications coming from establishments situated near the state’s border.
Speaking to reporters at the Tebedu Immigration Complex yesterday, Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives (KPDNKK) Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said the overwhelming response from Sarawakian traders was a good sign of their preparation before the requirement is implemented on July 1.
Refuting claims that traders needed to apply for 11 licences as untrue, Rohani said it was possible that they misunderstood it to mean the premise licence, weight scale licence and other necessary licences to set up a grocery business. She pointed out that only one licence was needed.
“This licence will state what controlled items they are selling – there is no charge to obtain it and we had even extended the validity period from two to five years.
“I hope that everybody will understand the logic behind this step. I think that if there has been no complaint by consumers, it is not necessary to do so,” she said before adding that there was even a case in Johor where a medium-scale food business had to lay off its workers just because there was no sugar to be used for production.
She added that the licence will be given directly upon application and to make it easier for applicants, KPDNKK office is now open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm.
Rohani earlier led a working visit by KPDNKK to the market and shops in Serian and Tebedu. The visit was made following reports that the link between sugar producers, wholesalers, sellers and consumers was cut off because of lack of control and monitoring of the sales.
“This massive exercise will directly collect data from grocery shops selling controlled items, that can help us identify those who have been hoarding items,” she added.
At the moment, there are 25 sugar wholesalers in Sarawak; five in Kuching, one in Sarikei, nine in Sibu, four in Bintulu and six in Miri.
As of June 17, the quantity of fine sugar in stores for 1kg and 2kg packets in Kuching was 282.960 metric tonnes, Sri Aman 5.702 metric tonnes, Sarikei 216.674 metric tonnes, Sibu 139.874 metric tonnes and Kapit 3.670 metric tonnes.
For Bintulu, a total of 152.754 metric tonnes of sugar was in supply, Miri 158.807 metric tonnes and Limbang 20 metric tonnes.
Meanwhile, according to a press statement, for the 50kg packets, Kuching still has 294.050 metric tonnes of supply, Sri Aman with 5.702 metric tonnes, Sibu with 232.400 metric tonnes, Bintulu with 23.700 metric tonnes, Miri with 113.100 metric tonnes and Limbang with 13.000 metric tonnes.
Industrial sugar stocks for the 50kg packets on the other hand is; Kuching with 269.550 metric tonnes, Sri Aman 1.550 metric tonnes, Sibu 18.018 metric tonnes and Miri with 58.850 metric tonnes.
A total of 1.6 million metric tonnes of sugar is in supply at the moment in Sarawak.