PUTRAJAYA, April 24 — Traders who increase the price of goods indiscriminately have been warned of facing stern action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act (AKHAP) 2011.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) took the matter seriously, especially with regard to uncontrolled essential items, including bottled cooking oil, as it was a contributor to the rising cost of living of the people.

“The ruling on increasing the prices of goods indiscriminately also applies to bottled cooking oil in the market,” he said in a statement here today.

Nanta said this following media reports claiming that the price of a five kg bottle of cooking oil had risen sharply since January, namely in the range of RM28 to RM34, compared to RM25 to RM27 last year.

He said under AKHAP, companies could face a fine of up to RM500,000, while individuals faced a fine of up to RM100,000 and up to a three-year jail sentence, or both, upon conviction.

Elaborating further, Nanta said the number of complaints received regarding the high price of cooking oil had gradually reduced since January, with no complaints received so far this month.

“This is in line with the data on the price for a five kg bottle cooking oil (pure type), where the lowest price in the market is RM21.50 and the highest is RM30.00,” he said.

According to Nanta, bottled cooking oil is not a subsidised item, and is determined by the world market price for crude palm oil as well as other costs involved.

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He said the prices of crude oil had decreased significantly between February and May last year and reached about RM1000/tonne in June, but has since rebounded and reached above RM4000/tonne recently.

The aggressive rise in the commodity’s price, he said, could also affect the retail price of bottled cooking oil.

“Therefore, the people need to understand the scenario that occurs in determining the price changes of essential goods such as bottled cooking oil,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nanta said under the Cooking Oil Stabilisation Scheme, the government provided subsidies for cooking oil sold in one-kg polybags, and it was suitable with average cooking oil needs for a family, which is about 1.5 kg per month.

“In this regard, as a concerned government, the subsidy programme for cooking oil in one kg polybags will continue, to ensure that the people can continue to enjoy the supply of cooking oil for household use at an affordable price of RM2.50.

“Consumers are given the option to choose the one kg of subsidized cooking oil, which is also of good quality, or go for any of the bottled cooking oils available in a variety of weights and prices,” he said. — Bernama



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