The STAR onlineWednesday January 16, 2008
JOHOR BARU: Foreigners shopping in Malaysia will soon be prohibited from taking controlled food items, such as cooking oil, sugar and flour, out of the country in a bid to help prevent shortages.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal said he would present the proposal at the Cabinet meeting today.
“The prices of these controlled items are already subsidised by the Government.
“Prohibiting them (foreigners) from taking these foodstuff out is one of the ways to avoid shortages,” he said after a briefing and dialogue with civil servants on the price increase of goods here yesterday.
Shafie added that foreigners were not entitled to such items so heavily subsidised by the government.
He said the Government spent some RM635mil on subsidised cooking oil while some RM60bil was spent to subsidise cylinders of gas between 1997 and last year.
“Foreigners, especially from neighbouring countries are welcome to buy and take back other items such as watches and shirts as we want to promote tourism.
“We even allow them to buy petrol and diesel within limit but Malaysia is not a place for foreigners to get subsidisation,” he said, adding that Customs and Immigration departments were expected to enforce the ruling at every exit and entry points once the proposal was tabled.
On the issue of flour, Shafie said there were no shortages, as some 32,000 tonnes have been distributed nationwide.
Meanwhile, Shafie also said some 22,394kg of cooking oil worth about RM58,000 was seized in nationwide raids between Jan 7 and Jan 14.