Should the price of vegetable cooking oil continue to increase, the govt is expected to spend RM1.8b in subsidy
by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) is maintaining the monthly quota for subsidised cooking oil through the Cooking Oil Stabilisation Scheme (COSS) at 60,000 tonnes amid the spike in the refined bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein price this year.
The price of vegetable cooking oil has surged 83% to RM4,122 per tonne in 2021 against RM2,255 per tonne recorded last year, said Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi (picture).
“KPDNHEP would like to clarify that the government still maintains the quota for subsidised cooking oil at 60,000 tonnes per month for 2020 and 2021 although the price of RBD palm olein has increased by 83% to RM4,122 per tonne in 2021 compared to RM2,255 per tonne in 2020.
“This is equivalent to 60 million of 1kg polybag packets, allocated for each Malaysians, including in Sarawak and Sabah, and the government is committed to maintaining the allocation,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Nanta Linggi added that should the price of vegetable cooking oil continue to increase, the government is expected to spend RM1.8 billion in subsidy, a hefty increase from RM400 million currently.
“If the RBD palm olein price continues to show an upward trend, the subsidy cost for the scheme is expected to increase from RM400 million to RM1.8 billion.
“Therefore, the government’s decision to maintain the quotas of the COSS programme indicates the level of commitment in reducing the cost of living and safeguarding the wellbeing of the people.
“The KPDNHEP Enforcement Division has been conducting comprehensive audits regularly,” he said.
Nanta Linggi was responding to a report by the local news portal, Borneo Post Online, claiming that there is a shortage of supply of subsidised cooking oil in the market.
In addressing the illegality of the distribution of subsidised cooking oil, the authorities had found a total of 318 cases from 2016 until March 2021, while the distribution quota for four companies had been cancelled.
According to official data, there are 11 distributors for subsidised cooking oil under the COSS programme in Sarawak with a total quota of 3,067 tonnes.
Meanwhile, on the sugar issue, Alexander said the domestic selling price is controlled at a maximum of RM2.85 per kg for coarse white sugar and RM2.95 per kg for refined white sugar.
“Meanwhile, the wholesale selling price of sugar used in the food and beverage (F&B) industry is set at RM2.77 per kg for coarse white sugar and RM2.85 per kg for refined white sugar,” he said.
To widen the size of the supply chain of the sugar industry, Nanta Linggi said local F&B and wholesaler companies could apply for a permit to import refined sugar.
“Eligible applications will be carefully considered by an Evaluation Committee represented by several relevant government agencies, including the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Malaysian Industrial Investment Authority and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.
“The priority of issuing import permits is for the F&B manufacturing companies and wholesalers to meet the set evaluation criteria.
“A continuous monitoring will continue to be carried out on the permit recipients to prevent abuse and misappropriation and enforcement action will be imposed on any party who misuses the permit to import refined sugar,” he said.