Kuala Lumpur, Jan 08 (Agencies): Shortage of onions in India has hit Malaysia too. Red onions imported from India are preferred by people in this country due to its spicier taste, a media report said.

The import of red onions from India and garlic from China has been affected due to a shortage in supply in these countries, a media report said.

"Malaysians like Indian red onions because these have a spicier taste. However, because of the floods (in India), there has been a shortage in supply and a lot of the stock we received was also damaged," Yee Kam Ming, general manager of Sunshine Wholesale Market in George Town, Penang State, was quoted as saying by The Star Saturday.

Since early December, some supermarkets had resorted to importing onions from China to meet local demand.

He said the prices of big red onions from India have doubled from nearly two ringgits per kg in the last few months while shallots now cost between three ringgits and 4.50 ringgits, up from two ringgits.

Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants' Association of Malaysia president Lean Hing Chuan said erratic supply of these goods due to lower imports was one of the main reasons for the soaring prices.

"Big onions, which are imported from India, were two ringgits per kg before the floods began a few months ago. Now, the price is up to five ringgits," he said.

A Malaysian ringgit is about Rs.15 and is roughly 26 US cents.

Garlic, which comes from China, has seen massive price increases over the last year, Lean said.