Petaling Jaya: The Malaysian government is set to unveil a “new strategy” to address the issue of sugar prices amid discussions about whether to raise or float them, according to Deputy Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Fuziah Salleh. The strategy is in the final stages of discussion with relevant ministries and stakeholders, considering input from industry players and small traders. Fuziah emphasized the need for a balanced approach that keeps both the industry and consumers satisfied without unduly affecting food and beverage prices, reported Free Malaysia Today.
Currently, sugar ceiling prices are set at RM2.85 per kilogram for coarse sugar and RM2.95 per kilogram for refined sugar. Fuziah highlighted the potential impact on micro businesses selling traditional sweets, cakes, and local desserts, particularly if the price of industrial sugar, which is not controlled, increases. She mentioned that a careful approach is necessary to devise a new price structure.
This development comes after Mydin Managing Director Ameer Ali Mydin suggested either floating or increasing the sugar ceiling price from RM2.85 to RM3.80 due to rising international prices. Felda Chairman Ahmad Shabery Cheek also expressed concern about low sugar prices affecting Felda settlers, who are shareholders in companies such as FGV Holdings Bhd and Koperasi Permodalan Felda Bhd, major shareholders in MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM). MSM and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd dominate the local sugar refining business, with MSM holding a 60% market share.
Ameer Ali Mydin had previously called for the abolition of the ceiling price for retail sugar, advocating for a free market mechanism and the elimination of approved permits (APs) for sugar imports to create a level playing field. The sugar refining industry had been in discussions with the government to potentially float the ceiling price, which has seen minimal changes over the years.