KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 (Bernama) -- Domestic Trade and Consumer AffairsMinister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Monday issued a stern warning to localcooking oil manufacturers not to try to threaten the government toincrease the ceiling price for the commodity.
"Don't make threats. If they do that, we will not consider at all (raisingthe ceiling price). It is the responsibility of retailers, manufacturersand distributors to guarantee sufficient supply.
"Don't expect prices to go up. Maybe, prices will not increase, we willgive them subsidies, prices can remain.
"If they want to push up prices to make profit, we will not allow that. Wewill take action under the Price Control Act," he said.
The Malaysian Edible Oil Manufacturers' Association claimed Sunday therewould be a shortage of palm oil-based cooking oil in the domestic marketif the government did not raise the prices.
Its President James Goh Ju Tong was reported to have said the shortage wasinevitable as local manufacturers suffered huge losses owing to suddensurge in crude palm oil prices.
Muhyiddin urged the manufacturers to be patient while the government triedto overcome the problem.
"Even this, I'm not saying will be for long because I do not want thosecelebrating Hari Raya to enjoy cheaper prices while those celebratingChinese New Year have to pay a higher price," he said.
Muhyiddin had indicated that the government might increase the ceilingprice of cooking oil after the Chinese New Year.
Currently, palm oil-based cooking oil in plastic packets is being sold atRM2.50 per kg and RM3.30 a kg in bottle.
On measures to overcome the high crude palm oil prices, Muhyiddin said hisministry had asked the Primary Industries Ministry to re-introduce thecess system.
Cess was implemented in 1997 when palm oil prices shot up suddenly whenthe Malaysian Ringgit depreciated against the US dollar.
Under the system, the government collected cess for palm oil exports andthe proceeds were used to help local edible oil entrepreneurs.
Replying to a question, Muhyiddin said the supply of essentials for thefestive season was sufficient.
He hoped the public would spend with prudence.
"Supply is adequate. Buying in excess than usual will create an artificialsituation," he said.
On the soon-to-be announced ceiling price for cooking oil, he said theprice hike would be minimal.