Egg, Sugar Supply Stablising in Sandakan Despite Mass Food Purchases

SANDAKAN: Two women had just collected food bags from a handphone accessories outlet here that initiated a food bank, when one of them was overheard saying that there were no eggs included.

“It’s ok. Maybe next time we will be lucky,” said the other woman and they walked off with the assistance that they had received.

Eggs and sugar have been low in stock in supermarkets and grocery stores in Sandakan and neighbouring districts for a few weeks now, likely due to mass purchasing by those involved in the government’s Food Basket Programme to help the needy and donors alike.

Sandakan branch head of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry Mohamad Hashim said supply at consumer outlets were stabilising after the ministry advised those involved in the programme to obtain their needs straight from suppliers.

“While noble in their act to ensure the needy have food during this time of need (COVID-19 pandemic), it is best food basket distributers obtain their food items straight from the suppliers so as not to disrupt supply at supermarkets and grocery stores,” he said when met by reporters during a visit to a poultry farm near here today.

Mohamad said the two main poultry farms in Sandakan were producing ample supply of eggs, at 130,710 chicken eggs of various sizes on a daily basis to meet the demand in Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Beluran and Telupid.

He also said that packets of 1kg sugar have started to fill up the shelves at major supermarkets this week as shipments of the supply from the peninsula had started arriving following a two-week delay.

According to him, about 660 tonnes of sugar arrived in stages at the Sandakan Port this week, while shipments totalling more than 400 tonnes are expected to arrive over the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the phone accessories shop owner Law Yee Houng, who initiated the food bank several weeks ago, said he just wanted to do his part in helping the needy as he believed some might not know how or where to apply for food assistance.

“It is not much, but it is the least we can do. We have also received food donations, so we only need to repack them into smaller bags and put them on a table outside the shop,” he said.

Beside the table, a sign is placed with words in Malay that reads, among others: “Ambil saja jika mahu, sumbang jika mampu” with the English translation saying: “Take what you need, donate what you can”.