by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Wednesday, 25th May 1994:
The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Abu Hassan Omar, should not just issue warnings but must bring down the prices of cooking oil
The Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Abu Hassan Omar, yesterday warned the 50 cooking oil manu¬facturers that they could lose their licences if they increased prices without consulting the Government and that the recent cooking oil price increases were unfair.
The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister should not just issue warnings but must bring down the prices of cooking oil in the shops in the country.
Datuk Abu Hassan should undertake a ‘shake-up’ of his Ministry to ensure that it could play a pivotal role in the anti-inflation campaign launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed last week.
It is most shocking that the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is the last to know about the increase in the prices of cooking oil when he should be the first to be informed of price increases.
What is even most shocking is that the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs still did not know about the cooking oil price increases after National DAPSY Chairman and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, raised the issue of the cooking oil price increases in Parliament in early May.
This shows that the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs do not take seriously the issues raised by MPs in Parliament.
Instead, the Minister for Primary Industries, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik created a public embarrassment for himself when he denied that there was any cooking oil price increases and challenged Guan Eng to a public debate. When Guan Eng immediately accepted the challenge to a public debate, Keng Yaik backed down from his challenge, reinforcing his nickname as ‘The Foolish Minister’, and this forced Keng Yaik to go overseas to avoid his latest embarrassment.
The Malaysian Edible Oil Manufacturers’ Association has defended the cooking oil price increases on the ground that there had been an increase in the price of crude palm oil.
The Association said that the local cooking oil prices move in tandem with the world’s supply and demand situation for crude palm oil and other vegetable oils and fats, which are the main raw materials for local cooking oil.
It is most shocking that after over a month of cooking ,oil price increases, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has not had any meeting with the cooking oil manufacturers yet and will be having their first meeting tomorrow.
This is most unsatisfactory and does not reflect well on the efficiency and competence of the Ministry.
The cooking oil price increases will be a test as to the effectiveness of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs as the vanguard in the government’s anti-inflation campaign – and whether the Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is only good at issuing warnings but could not bring down the prices of cooking oil.