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Sugar industry in Malaysia is witnessing hue and cry after the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has approved eight permits to food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers to import sugar from other countries. Now, finally, amidst the uproar, F&B manufacturers in Sarawak started getting sugar supply from Thailand at RM1.70 per kg.
MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Central Sugar Refinery Sdn Bhd had alleged that approval of the import permits was made without fully understanding the circumstances of the industry. Also, there was a demand to reconsider the recent decision, which was quashed stating competition in the sugar industry will do more good for the country, business sector, and consumers at large.
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen in a released statement said the import cost is inclusive of transport charges.
He claimed, so far, the two sugar refiners, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM) and Central Sugar Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR), have enjoyed the monopolistic control over the sale and supply of sugar in the domestic market, and now the import permits would help to diminish the cost of production at the factories.
Jen, while addressing the press conference, had earlier stated, “Despite the low international sugar price, the F&B manufacturers have had to pay about RM2.60 to RM2.70 per kg from the local sugar refineries. Whereas at present the international sugar price is in the range of RM1.40 per kg for raw sugar, while for refined sugar, it is RM1.80 per kg”.