Malaysia offers temporary incentives to stabilize sugar prices

Malaysia’s Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Fuziah Salleh, has clarified that government incentives for a sugar refinery company are a temporary measure to curb potential food price inflation, reported The Star.

Salleh clarified that these incentives are not intended as a long-term solution and should not be likened to subsidies. Rather, she explained that they are designed to provide interim support while the government explores more effective strategies through its engagements with industries and small businesses.

Her remarks came in response to a query from Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong during the minister’s Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat on the issue of a sugar refinery company receiving RM42 million in incentives from the government.

Dr Wee expressed concerns about the effective utilization of the subsidy and ensuring that its benefits reach the people, particularly considering the challenge of distinguishing premium sugar from regular sugar.

In addressing these concerns, Salleh underscored the potential impact of sugar price fluctuations on small-scale enterprises such as bakeries and food stalls. She emphasized the importance of regulating sugar prices to mitigate inflationary pressures across various sectors, including food and beverage.

“We’re not only concerned about domestic consumers but also smaller businesses like those selling kuih bahulu and apam balik as they heavily rely on sugar,” she added.

Acknowledging that the introduction of premium sugar aimed to assist manufacturers in mitigating losses, Salleh admitted that it had not effectively addressed the underlying issues. She stressed the necessity of continued engagement with all industry stakeholders, including micro, small, and medium traders.

Uncontrolled increases in sugar prices, Salleh warned, could have ripple effects, leading to higher costs for consumers and exacerbating inflation. She reiterated that the government is providing incentives to sugar production in the short term to ensure supply stability while working towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution.

Earlier, Salleh revealed that for every kilogram of sugar produced, local sugar companies such as MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR) incurred a loss of 88sen. The government has permitted these two local sugar-producing companies, MSM and CSR, to continue producing 42,000 tonnes of refined white sugar every month.


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