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Sugar and subsidised cooking oil hard to come by in Kedah

Publish date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023, 06:01 PM

SIK: Consumers in the rural districts of Sik and Baling are finding it extremely hard to buy sugar and subsidised cooking oil in recent weeks.

They say they have had to go from shop to shop in search of these items.

Many operators of sundry shops in Sik town told the NST they had run out of sugar and cooking oil.

"Sorry, sugar and cooking oil are out of stock. Lately, we've been receiving only half the supply we usually get," lamented a cashier at one shop.

At Batu Lima, about 10 kilometres away from here, sugar has also run out. A sundry shop operator, however, expressed optimism: "I believe supply will be back in the next few days."

Retailers have admitted to imposing conditions on the purchase of sugar.

One claimed: "I (my business) will die if I don't impose any condition. The suppliers are mixing coarse sugar with premium fine sugar. If I don't impose the condition, what should I do with the premium fine sugar stock?"

Retailers are also limiting the sale of subsidised polybags of cooking oil due to the shortage. The situation is no different in the neighbouring district of Baling.

"We've been facing problems getting sugar and one-kilogramme cooking oil polybags for the past three weeks. It seems retailers are restricting the sale of these essential items to just one kilogramme per customer," said a resident of Baling, Jhangir Khan Kathem Khan.

Jhangir Khan urged the authorities to investigate the possibility of hoarding by retailers and suppliers.

Last Monday, the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry gave an assurance that the state's sugar supply would normalise by June 1, when a major factory restored operations to optimal capacity.

The ministry's state director, Affendi Rajini Kanth, said they would not tolerate retailers who imposed conditions on the sale of sugar or who hoarded supplies. He encouraged consumers to report any shortages to the ministry.

On Friday, the ministry took action against a retailer in Guar Chempedak for making customers who wanted to get coarse sugar to also purchase premium fine sugar.

He said the ministry has not received any complaint in the past three months about shortages of subsidised cooking oil.

"Consumers can channel complaints to the state ministry office through the e-complaint portal, call centres, e-mail, mobile complaint application, and directly to the ministry's state office," he added.

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