The government today assured the people that the price of sugar will remain at RM1.45 per kg as it has no intention of withdrawing the subsidy in the near future.
Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Tan Lian Hoe issued the statement as the ministry has detected an increase in the demand for the commodity following an announcement that it was studying whether to withdraw the subsidy as proposed by various quarters to reduce sugar consumption among Malaysians.
“The ministry has not made any proposal to the Cabinet and the Cabinet has not discussed this. So we assure you that the price of sugar will be maintained at the present moment,” she said.
She advised traders and consumers not to resort to panic buying of sugar or to hoard the commodity, and warned that the ministry would come down hard on hoarders.
Enforcement officers of the ministry were deployed throughout the country to monitor the situation and ensure that no one bought sugar in excessive amounts or hoarded the commodity, she said.
Tan said the country had enough sugar to meet the demand.
The minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said on Tuesday that the ministry was studying whether to withdraw the sugar subsidy as proposed by various quarters to reduce sugar consumption among Malaysians.
Tan said any proposal to withdraw the subsidy would be discussed in-depth because, although it could help to reduce the intake of sugar, it was important to ease the burden of the poor.
The government is spending RM720 million this year to subsidise 60 sen for every kilogram of sugar and maintain the price at RM1.45. The sugar price may reach RM2.45 per kg next year if the ministry decides to abolish the subsidy.
Tan said the ministry would continue to strive to get the people to reduce their sugar intake through awareness campaigns.
“Sugar is the mother of various ailments. We do not want to be seen to be contributing to illnesses in the people by providing the subsidy,” she said. – Bernama