Earlier this month, a Facebook post along with a picture of a bottled oil that was used for prayers by non-Muslims had gone viral online after a Facebook page claims that it was low-priced cooking oil.
However, it appears that a businessman in Penang has taken this joke seriously and was caught mixing subsidised cooking oil and prayer oil to be sold at a higher price later.
According to Astro Awani, Chief Officer of Penang’s Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, A. Mogan said the businessman was caught at his home in Taman Seri Murni (Sungai Dua) for selling mixed oil at a price range between RM6 to RM8 per kilogram.
“During the raid, the man was at the cargo section of a lorry that was parked at the back of the terrace house, in the midst of transferring subsidised cooking oil into barrels before being sold to commercial buyers,” he said.
“An inspection of the lorry found 272 kg of subsidised cooking oil in packets and 952 kg of subsidised cooking oil that had been transferred into industrial barrels.”
Mogan said the team also found 340 kg of subsidised cooking oil packets stored in a room in the house, which was believed to be used as a place for the man to transfer the subsidised cooking oil to industrial barrels.
Further investigation found that the man had a wholesale licence for controlled goods, with permission for him to obtain cooking oil from the cooking oil packaging place and subsequently send it directly to customers.
“However, he has misused the licence and misappropriated controlled items before selling them to the industry, because he was able to make a more lucrative profit,” he said.
Mogan said that each 1kg packet of subsidised cooking oil costs RM2.50 and the man is selling it to the industry and the public at RM6 to RM8 each.
Government warns of revamping cooking oil supply system
On Monday (11 July), the Jihad Against Inflation Special Task Force chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa warned of stern action, including a revamp of the supply system will be undertaken, if the leakage and smuggling of subsidised cooking oil to neighbouring countries continue.
“Investigations revealed that our subsidised cooking oil is being sold by the cartons in boxes, and when they come in boxes which are unopened, these are directly from the packaging factories.”
“Certain parties are found to be involved. I do not want to divulge our plans here, but I just want to say that we are working hard and those involved are not going to escape,” he said.
With this, he urged the people to stop misusing this as he would consider overhauling the entire oil subsidy supply system if it cannot be improved.
“If this were to fail and as long as there is continued misuse of subsidised cooking oil, I will not hesitate to revamp the whole system and the Jihad Against Inflation Special Task Force will take stern action,” he said.
“It may affect some businesses and traders, but it has to be done because people out there are not getting the subsidised cooking oil from the RM4 billion the government has spent on.”