Sugar 'subsidy' regressive, says Wee Ka Siong

KUALA LUMPUR: Ayer Hitam member of parliament Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said reinstating a sugar "subsidy" would represent a regressive move for the government's ongoing reforms.

He said the government should act responsibly by either eliminating controlled sugar prices or adjusting them upward, coupled with educational efforts to promote reduced sugar consumption in food production.

Wee said that introducing such a subsidy would ultimately burden the government with increased healthcare costs down the line.

"By my calculations, this newly introduced RM1.00 per kg subsidy will add an immediate RM500 million to RM600 million burden a year to the government coffers.

"I would rather urge subsidies for chicken, which has increased to RM10.33 per kg compared to the prices below RM8, when such subsidies were abolished in November," he said in a Facebook post.

An MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd representative informed the 'New Straits Times' that the company has been receiving a RM1.00 per kg industry incentive for coarse grain sugar and fine grain sugar since November 2023.

Wee predicted that the introduction of such a 'subsidy' would spark widespread discontent.

"The Health Ministry had never mentioned anything about sugar subsidy in Parliament at the end of last year but all of a sudden, the biggest sugar manufacturer received a huge amount of subsidy from the government.

Sugar prices in Malaysia are capped at RM2.85 per kg for coarse sugar and RM2.95 per kg for refined sugar.

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