After three weeks of surveillance, a team of eight enforcement officers from the state Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism of Johor and Melaka raided a factory in Taman Kota Puteri, Masai. During the raid they managed to confiscated some 51,000kg of cooking oil worth approximately RM127,5000.
Johor ministry enforcement chief, Abdul Hamid Abu Bakar said, two locals in their mid-thirties were caught red-handed while transferring subsidised cooking oil in packet and bottled form into seven small tanks.
He said, after a thorough search by the enforcement team within the factory premises, they found 25,000 kg of cooking oil stored in a special tank and another 22,000 kg still in its original packet form. The balance was stored in two smaller tanks filled with 3,200kg and 1,000 kg respectively.
The illegal operations could have started two or three months ago, he said, adding that the syndicate could make a RM60,000 profit if the total cooking oil were resold in the open market.
The cooking oil came from sources in Kuantan, Klang Valley and Malacca and they are still tracking down the factory owner, he said.
As of now, it is impossible to ascertain whether the cooking oil is meant for sale to the industry or to be smuggled out from the country, said Abdul Hamid who was speaking to reporters at the raided factory premises here, yesterday.
Adding, he said, what is obvious is that such illegal operations can result in shortage of subsidised cooking oil supply in the market which in fact deprives consumers of their rights.
Explaining the syndicate modus operandi, he said, the transferring process starts from filling the subsidised cooking oil from small tanks to a larger storage tank using a pump before transporting it out by lorry tankers.
The case will be investigated under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 and if found guilty, offender will be fined up-to a maximum of RM100,000 or three years jail or both, whereas the company will be fined up to RM250,000, said Abdul Hamid.
In another unrelated matter, Abdul Hamid reminded all petrol stations operators to strictly abide by the ministry’s rule prohibiting the sale of RON 95 petrol to foreign registered vehicles.
He said “we are monitoring the situation closely every day and to-date, we have taken action against three petrol station operators in the city who violated the Control of Supplies Act 1961.”
The ministry officials have already met and briefed all petrol station owners on the ruling pertaining to the RON 95 petrol sale prohibition, he added.