KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no intention to increase the price of subsidised cooking oil, said Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.

He said that the government will instead introduce a targeted subsidy mechanism once the Central Database Hub (PADU) system is fully operational.

According to him, it was inappropriate to increase the price of essential goods at this time as people were still struggling with rising living costs.

“The government will start the initiative of providing targeted subsidies to the people because the government spends a lot on subsidies for cooking oil, RON95 petrol and other subsidised goods.

“However, for now, the government will maintain these subsidies for the sake of the people. When the economy recovers, we will re-establish a perfect ecosystem and implement targeted subsidies so that we can save on our expenditure,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

He said this in reply to a supplementary question from Azli Yusof (PH-Shah Alam) on whether the government had plans to raise the price of subsidised cooking oil as a measure to prevent leakage in addition to helping small traders and encouraging healthy competition among producers of essential goods.

To Azli’s original question on the high demand for used cooking oil to be used as biofuel, Salahuddin said it has the potential to be an economic resource, especially for housewives as well as micro, small and medium enterprises.

He said that preliminary discussions had been held with Petronas, which could act as a government agency to assist the industry in achieving economies of scale, thereby increasing the income of the country and the people involved.

In reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Tuan Ibharim Tuan Man (PN-Kubang Kerian) on used cooking oil, Salahuddin said the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities was responsible for issuing licences to used cooking oil collection companies.

“To date, no major case involving the reprocessing of used cooking oil and its sale at a cheap price has been brought to court,” he said.

Tuan Ibrahim asked about the control of licensed companies that collect used cooking oil following allegations that there are companies that collect used cooking oil and mix it with non-halal used cooking oil before reselling it at a cheap price. - Bernama