Packet cooking oil: Govt will consider various measures before taking action against petty traders, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Taking enforcement action against petty traders using subsidised cooking oil for commercial purposes is not an easy task as the government needs to consider various matters before taking action, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

In a post on Facebook and Twitter, the Prime Minister said there were parties who tried to twist his statement in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (July 18) regarding the use of subsidised oil packets by “Makcik Goreng Pisang”, referring to petty traders in general.

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“The fact is, the subsidised cooking oil packets are for domestic use, not commercial.

“However, when petty traders use oil packets, will we issue summonses? Of course, we won’t have the heart to issue summonses against petty traders who use cooking oil packets,” Ismail Sabri said.

“But the government will not remain still. InsyaAllah, we will do our best to deal with the matter,” he added.

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Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, when replying to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the government’s move in tackling subsidy leakages also enjoyed by foreigners and the rich, Ismail Sabri said cooking oil packets were for domestic use but there were traders, including petty traders, who also used it.

“Another thing we find difficult to control and who enforcers have no heart to act against are (the likes) of the goreng pisang (banana fritters) sellers. They are not supposed to use subsidised cooking oil to fry their fritters as the oil cannot be used for commercial (purposes). That would be illegal.

“But will the enforcers issue summonses against them or seize the cooking oil? We would then be accused of being cruel to those trying to make ends meet,” he said.

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Ismail Sabri said the government would continue to address the issue of cooking oil misappropriation, including auditing manufacturers and also by controlling the borders.

“The ones who can easily misappropriate are the ‘repackers’. They are given permission to pack a tonne of cooking oil,” he said, going on to question where the cooking oil ended up.

“So we will get the details of those factories who were the recipients of the cooking oil.

“The second is the border. The smuggling of these goods in terms of ‘priority’ falls to number five or six. Number one is drug smuggling, followed by arms smuggling, human trafficking, and so on.

“But after such severe irregularities, a lot of cooking oil was sold to people in Thailand and so on, so we have issued instructions that not only Domestic Trade enforcers will be tasked to control these irregularities, but the police and army will also be involved in terms of control, so that this oil is not smuggled out,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri in a post on his official Facebook page said the government’s intervention in terms of the price of chicken and eggs had shown success as the supply of chicken was now stable.

“Eggs are still subsidised by 3 sen each. From July 1, chicken prices were reduced by 20 sen in terms of subsidies, and as a result of the government’s actions, today, chicken prices and chicken supply have stabilised.

“Although we set a control price of RM9.40, the national average price of chicken on July 9 has dropped to RM9.22 and the state of Pahang recorded the lowest price of RM8.95,” he said. – Bernama