Malaysia takes action to prevent sugar shortages

Kota Kinabalu: The Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Mohd Armizan Mohd Ali, has announced that the government is actively conducting assessments and implementing immediate measures to avert a potentially larger disruption in the local market’s supply of refined white sugar in the coming year, reported The Edge Malaysia.

These initiatives are strategically devised based on reasonable pricing considerations to ensure stability in the sugar supply. The government is currently engaged in exploring long-term solutions to address the prevailing sugar supply challenges.

Attributing the disruption in the supply of refined white sugar priced at RM2.85 per kg to the surge in global raw sugar prices, Minister Armizan clarified that the government exclusively regulates the price of refined white sugar at this rate without extending subsidies to manufacturers. He highlighted that since July, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDN) has adopted a policy of easing import permit conditions, allowing unrestricted sugar imports. In this regard, 43 companies have been granted import quota approval permits, totalling 557,080 metric tonnes, to facilitate the sourcing of raw sugar at favourable rates.

Despite these efforts, as of December 12, only 5% of the sugar supply has been successfully imported into the country, primarily for personal use. Minister Armizan emphasised that the KPDN remains open to conditionally relaxing import permit restrictions, inviting any interested party capable of importing and selling refined sugar at the price of RM2.85 per kilo to apply for immediate approval.

Looking ahead to the coming year, Minister Armizan announced that the Rahmah Market will incorporate elements of selling wet goods in collaboration with traders from public markets and wet markets as part of the Rahmah Sales programme. He revealed that a study conducted on the impact of Rahmah Sales indicated nearly 80% positive feedback from the public, expressing a desire for the programme’s continuation. Suggestions for improvement, such as providing an earlier sales schedule announcement, are being considered to enhance the programme’s effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Minister Armizan assured the public that the KPDN is in constant collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to address any price increases related to face masks, sanitisers, and COVID-19 test kits during periods of rising COVID-19 cases. In Epidemiological Week 50, from December 10 to 16, there was a notable increase of 62.2%, with 20,696 recorded Covid-19 cases compared to 12,757 cases in the preceding week (ME49).


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