Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sugar In Malaysia Subsidy

Consumer Association of Penang (CAP): Why sugar subsidy should be withdrawn immediately
- apparently, FOMCA and CAP defines sugar as a "poison" and have been lobbying govt for 7 years to remove all sugar subsidies and today, they have their wishes granted.
- in fact, they also want govt to impose a sin-tax on Sugar-based foods
- This is CAP's arguments.
The Government should stop subsidising the price of sugar since sugar is nothing less than a toxic substance.

The recent 20 sen increase in each kilo of sugar means that the government will still end up subsidising a sinful sum of RM1 billion in 2010, based on a subsidy of 80 sen per kilogram. Malaysians consume an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. This sweet indulgence has resulted in nearly 1.2 million Malaysians with diabetes, more than 98% with Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to high sugar consumption.

Sugar should be sold at its market price because:
-- It is not a basic necessity and its consumption is most harmful to one’s health.
-- With the total withdrawal of subsidy, the price of sugar will increase by 80 sen per kilogram but this should not lead to a drastic increase in the price of sugar-based food and drinks.
-- Based on our calculations, the cost of the main ingredients in a cup of teh tarik and Milo is about 28 sen and 45 sen respectively, though they are sold at RM1.00 and RM1.20 respectively.
-- The subsidy mainly benefits the manufacturers of fizzy drinks and sugar-based food products.
-- Countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand have a per capita income that is lower than Malaysia yet they pay more for their sugar.
-- The RM1 billion subsidy can be better used to help fund programmes to eradicate poverty and for the improvement of public health.
We would like to reiterate that it makes no sense to subsidise the very substance that is injurious to our health when the money can be better spent elsewhere.

In the 1970s Malaysians consumed 17 teaspoons of sugar a day and this rose to 21 teaspoons in the 1980s. Now, they are consuming an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Most people find it hard to believe or accept that we can be consuming an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day because we may be thinking of the sugar we add by ourselves into our food, but an increasing amount of sugar that is consumed by Malaysians is contained in processed drinks and food.

Some soft drinks contain an average of 7 teaspoons of sugar per can. Consumers are often unaware of how much sugar they are consuming in total per day. Over 60 ailments have been linked to sugar consumption, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, and allergies. Some of these killer diseases are showing worrying upward trends in just a few years.

The price of sugar in Malaysia is amongst the lowest in this region. Sugar is priced at RM1.60 per kilogram and RM1.75 in East Malaysia. However the price of sugar in our neighbouring countries like Singapore is RM3.13, the Philippines RM2.85, Thailand RM2.31 and Indonesia RM2.62 to RM2.79 respectively.

Urgent action is needed to curb our high national sugar consumption.

Sugar Price Comparison

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