KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced a nationwide audit and crackdown on cooking oil producers and repackaging premises, in a heightened bid to address subsidy exploitation issues.

In a statement today, Ismail Sabri said five papers were presented by three ministries at the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) meeting this afternoon and a decision was made to launch the audit and verification process.

“The meeting decided to conduct a comprehensive auditing and verification operation, covering 22 manufacturers and 305 cooking oil repackaging premises operating nationwide.

“The operation aims to obtain the actual status of the amount of packaged cooking oil produced by the manufacturers and packaging company as well as the complete information of the recipient of the subsidised cooking oil.

“The government has deployed enforcement personnel comprising the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) to raid from the packaging factory level to the national border to ensure no irregularities take place,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said that this measure is to ensure that the RM4 billion cooking oil subsidy allocation channelled this year to reduce the burden of the public is fool-proof in every stage of the supply chain, up to the users.

He said that stern action will be taken, including revoking quotas and licenses that have been granted to manufacturers and packers, in an effort to address leakage of subsidised cooking oil distribution.

“Current statistics show the distribution of subsidised packet cooking oil in the country totalling 60,000 metric tons per month is more than household consumption in the country,” he added.

Ismail Sabri said that the meeting also agreed that food security is made a priority in the context of internal security, to overcome the problem which has led to an increase in the cost of living for Malaysians.

He added that the government will also intensify the Malaysian Family Sales Programme (PJKM) at all times, by selling basic necessities at cheaper prices.

“PJKM will involve strategic cooperation with Members of Parliament, state assemblymen and local authorities, and will be expanded to institutions of higher learning throughout the country,“ he said.

Ismail Sabri added that the government will also introduce the Malaysian Family Menu in cooperative restaurants and cafeterias as well as food outlets at higher learning institutions, as an alternative to having breakfast, lunch and dinner at affordable prices.

“The government always listens to the grievances of Malaysian Families and strives to ensure that the challenges of the cost of living can be addressed as best as possible,” he said.