THE International Trade and Industry Ministry is not planning to open up the sugar industry - by abolishing the Approved Permit (AP) licences to allow refiners to import raw sugar.
Such a move will cause an increase in speculation of the sugar prices at the local markets and fluctuation of international sugar prices.
“The consumer will be faced with higher sugar prices,” International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said.
He added that opening up the sugar market would cause problems to local sugar-based industries in the supply chain.
Mustapa said sugar prices were set at controlled prices of RM1.45 per kg in the peninsula and RM1.55 in Sabah and Sarawak from Sept 13, 2006.
He said these were lower compared to Thailand.
However, the sugar industry had asked for a 60sen increase to RM2.05 from Jan 1, this year, he said.
“The Government decided to introduce the sugar subsidy programme from this year, which are given to four refiners - Malayan Sugar Manufacturing, Gula Padang Terap, Central Sugar Refinery and Felda Perlis.
“So far, there are no problems since the implementation of the sugar price control mechanism and supply controls,” he told Khairy Jamaluddin (BN - Rembau).
Mustapa said importers would refuse to bring in sugar due to high international prices if local sugar price controls were not imposed.