KUCHING (Apr 12): State Democratic Action Party (DAP) chief Chong Chieng Jen yesterday claimed that there is a shortage of subsidised 1kg pack of cooking oil due to under-production by some repackers who have been receiving government subsidies.
The former deputy minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) said the government had allocated RM400 million for the cooking oil price stabilisation scheme this year alone to enable the needy across Malaysia to buy the subsidised cooking oil at RM2.50.
“Every year, there is government allocation to maintain the price of the 1kg subsidised cooking oil at RM2.50. The allocation for this year is RM400 million and it was also RM400 million last year.
“When PH (Pakatan Harapan) was the government, the allocation was RM720 million in 2018 and RM600 million in 2019. During our time, we made sure all this amount go to packing the subsidised cooking oil. But lately I noticed that there is a huge shortage of this 1kg cooking oil,” he said during his Facebook live in e-Mart Batu Kawa here.
Chong, who is Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, claimed that some repackers had resorted to over-claiming of subsidies or under-production of subsidised cooking oil.
For instance, he said a repacker who was supposed to pack 1,500kg of cooking oil only packed 1,000kg but still claimed the subsidy amount for 1,500kg.
“During PH’s time, it’s very seldom that you didn’t get the 1kg cooking oil in the market. But after PH is no longer the government, most of the time you can’t get this 1kg cooking oil.
“Why? I believe the hanky panky thing has found its way back to the system. That’s why we are having this Facebook live to forewarn the government,” he added.
He also called upon his former colleagues at KPDNHEP to carry out strict enforcement to ensure a stable supply of the subsidised cooking oil.
When he was the deputy KPDNHEP minister, Chong said they kept a record of the volume repackers delivered to the retailers, who must then have a record for the ministry to cross check.
With such strict enforcement, he said the government would be able to make sure that the allocation could benefit the target groups.
“I think the situation is quite bad now, a lot of time you can’t find the 1kg cooking oil. After all, it’s RM400 million of government allocation we are talking about.”
Chong said the previous PH government managed to bring down the price of sugar to RM1.70 or RM1.80 per kg for food and beverages (F&B) manufacturers but today, they had to fork out RM2.75 per kg.
He added that the former federal government opened up sugar import for F&B manufacturers in Sarawak.
He was glad that the current federal government had carried on the policy but some F&B manufacturers in the state had complained that their applications for sugar import had been rejected by Putrajaya.
“(KPDNHEP Minister Datuk) Alexandar Nanta Linggi is a Sarawakian. He can do much better than what I did as a deputy minister since he is a full minister.
“I will talk to Alexandar Nanta and ask him to make it easier for F&B manufacturers in Sarawak to apply for the sugar import permit,” he said.
Earlier, Chong handed out shopping vouchers worth RM100 to about 40 needy individuals under a social programme in collaboration with e-Mart Batu Kawa to reach out to the poor.