Resolving worker shortage quickly will keep cooking oil prices in check, says minister

JOHOR BARU: The price of cooking oil is expected to remain under control if migrant worker shortages are resolved promptly, said Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.

He said this was based on discussions with oil palm industry stakeholders, who were in the final stage of talks.

"The cabinet made an important decision on Tuesday to expedite the process of hiring foreign workers so that the rise in the prices of raw goods and basic foodstuff can be resolved quickly."

He said similar to the egg issue, the cabinet also aimed to resolve the shortage of the item in the next three months.

"We are targeting that by March, all industries will have an adequate number of workers, especially plantation and construction sectors."

He said this after launching a calligraphy competition at Paradigm Mall here.

The maximum price of 1kg of cooking oil is RM6.90, 2kg cooking oil is RM13.30 and 3kg is RM19.60.

The 5kg bottle's ceiling price is RM30.90.

The price control is effective until Feb 7.

On Tuesday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said those seeking to hire migrants from 15 countries could get approvals in three days.

The countries are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

The oil palm sector was among the worst hit by the labour shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic. About 200,000 workers are needed in this sector.

Meanwhile, Salahuddin urged parents to report unreasonable price hikes in school canteen food.

FMT reported that the prices of food in school canteens had increased by up to 50 per cent since the start of the school session this month due to expensive ingredients.

The Malaysian School Canteen Operators Association said an inadequate supply of raw materials, such as eggs, sugar and cooking oil, had affected canteens' operations.

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