TAWAU (Feb 3): Sabah government's ambition of producing a homegrown brand of cooking oil has been realised with the launch of Benta Enak Sedap Sehat (BESS) today.
Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal officiated the launching ceremony at the factory of Benta Edible Oil Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Yayasan Sabah's unit Benta Wawasan Sdn Bhd (BWSB) here.
Calling it a historic event, Mohd Shafie said the state, through BWSB, is now processing, bottling and marketing the palm-based cooking oil for the Sabah market at an affordable price, thus benefiting the people.
“The cooking oil factory in Tawau, which cost RM3.5 million to set up including machinery, has a monthly production capacity of 2,000 tonnes of cooking oil which will be supplied not only to Tawau, but also other districts.
“Through the BESS production, the government is fulfilling the pledge made during the last general election that if we (Parti Warisan Sabah, of which Mohd Shafie is president) took over the government, we will innovate by developing the downstream activities in Sabah," he told reporters after the ceremony.
BESS cooking oil is sold at RM5 for a 1kg bottle, RM9 for a 2kg bottle and RM20 for a 5kg bottle.
Mohd Shafie said he was still awaiting the subsidy approval from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
“If approval is given, we may reduce the prices of BESS oil by up to 30 per cent, and this is among the government's efforts to assist the people in providing a more affordable cooking oil,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohd Shafie said a 200-acre (80.94-hectare) industrial area for the downstream sector would be developed in Tawau.
He said it would include industries such as cooking oil, candle, soap and cosmetics.
"There are several Japanese technologies developed for downstream products and Sabah will strive to establish collaborations with Japan to benefit from them. A technology we've seen is used only for palm-based cooking oil but there are various other products that can be produced to go downstream,” he said.