LABUAN: Panic buying has led to a shortage of cooking oil at some stores and hypermarkets on this duty-free island.
Labuan Corporation chairman Datuk Rozman Isli said some consumers were buying several 1.5kg and 5kg bottles of cooking oil at one go.
“There is no shortage of bottled cooking oil in the country but there has been panic buying here over the past two weeks.
“We were told that every shipment of cooking oil that arrived at the retailers is sold out within an hour because consumers are lining up to buy as many (bottles) as they can,” he said after visiting Bataras Hypermarket here.
Rozman, who is also Labuan MP, urged consumers to calm down and avoid panic buying to help stabilise supply.
“We also hope the wholesalers will increase their supply to the shops on the island due to the higher demand, particularly in view of Chinese New Year, and put an end to this issue,” he said.
Banana fritters trader Mariam Baharuddin, 47, from Kampung Sungai Buton, complained that the subsidised cooking oil that came in polybags was always unavailable.
“I still have supplies to last me for a few more days. Once they are finished, I may have to stop business for a while,” she said.
Consumer Danial Faiz Abdullah, 38, said he was disappointed that he could not find the brand of cooking oil he wanted.
Another trader, Alimah Abu Bakar, said hawkers, particularly those selling cookies, cakes and fried food, depended on the packet cooking oil, which was cheaper.
“We hope there will be ample supply of the packet cooking oil. Business now is very competitive and if such essential items are limited, small-time business operators like us are the ones most affected,” she said.