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Published: Sunday January 3, 2010 MYT 8:01:00 PM
Updated: Sunday January 3, 2010 MYT 8:06:59 PM

PM: Should Govt continue to subsidise sugar price?

PEKAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is asking Malaysians to think whether the government should continue subsidising the price of sugar.

He said the government spent close to RM1bil each year to subsidise the price of sugar while the number of diabetics in this country was among the highest in the world.

"What we should do is change our dietary habit by reducing our sugar intake. I myself drink tea without sugar. This means we can change; we don't need so much sugar.

"There's no logic in the government spending almost RM1bil yearly to subsidise a food product that can bring harm to the people," Najib told reporters after handing out awards to students who excelled in the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) in the Pekan parliamentary constituency, here, Sunday.

He was asked to comment on the price increase of 20 sen per kg of sugar from Jan 1 as announced by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, but regarded by some quarters as a new year "gift" for the people.

Asked about the effects of the sugar price hike on the prices of other goods, Najib said the government would be monitoring the situation.

"The price of controlled items cannot be raised....we will monitor this. We will also study the price of some commodities from time to time. What we do is in the interest of the people," he said.

Najib said the people should also view the sugar price increase positively, that is, by changing their dietary habit for their own good health.

He said despite the sugar price hike, the commodity was still cheaper compared to its price in other Asean countries.

Earlier, the Pekan constituency's 371 top UPSR students for 2009 with 5As each, received their awards from the prime minister.

Najib, in his speech, said teachers should be more creative and innovative in teaching their students.

"We should see that the learning process also requires creativity and innovativeness as a new dimension in the whole education process.

"I believe that change like this will make our education system more attractive and our students more dynamic and active."

Najib said the educators must also be prepared to use various mediums like the Internet in order to attain a higher level of excellence. - Bernama

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