Incentives to a sugar refinery company a short term measure to regulate sugar prices, says Fuziah

  • Nation
  • Monday, 25 Mar 2024

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The government's decision to provide incentives to a sugar refinery company is a temporary measure aimed at curbing potential inflation in food prices, says Fuziah Salleh (pic).

The Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said these incentives were not intended as a long-term solution and did not constitute subsidies.

Rather, Fuziah said they were meant to provide support while the government sought more effective strategies through its engagements with industries and small businesses.

She was responding to a question from Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 25).

Dr Wee raised the issue of a sugar refinery company receiving incentives from the government.

"How can the ministry ensure that this subsidy is utilised effectively and that the benefits of this incentive ultimately reach the people, especially considering the existence of premium sugar which is difficult to distinguish from regular sugar?" he said.

Addressing these concerns, Fuziah highlighted the potential impact of sugar price fluctuations on small-scale enterprises such as bakeries and food stalls.

She said it was important to regulate sugar prices to mitigate inflationary pressures across various sectors, including food and beverages.

"We're not just concerned about domestic consumers. We are also looking out for smaller businesses like those selling kuih and bahulu as they heavily rely on sugar," she added.

Fuziah acknowledged that while premium sugar was initially introduced to assist manufacturers in mitigating losses, it had not effectively addressed the underlying issues.

"It's imperative that we continue discussions to find sustainable solutions, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Unchecked increases in sugar prices could have ripple effects, leading to higher costs for consumers and exacerbating inflation.

"We're providing incentives to sugar production in the short term while working towards a permanent resolution. Ensuring stability in sugar prices is crucial as we seek sustainable solutions," she said.

Earlier, Fuziah said for every kilogram of sugar produced, local sugar companies such as MSM Malaysia Holdings Berhad (MSM) and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR) incurred a loss of 88 sen.

The government allowed two local sugar-producing companies, MSM and CSR, to produce clear refined white sugar, effective May 25.

MSM and CSR were told to continue producing 42,000 tonnes of refined white sugar every month.

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