Primary school children will be able to enjoy free and healthy breakfast programmes starting next year from the revenue collected through the soon-to-be implemented Sugar Tax. Pic by NSTP/ ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI

KUALA LUMPUR: Primary school children will be able to enjoy free and healthy breakfast programmes starting next year from the revenue collected through the soon-to-be implemented Sugar Tax.

In his keynote address at the 15th edition of Invest Malaysia (IMKL2019) today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there will be no new taxes this year, other than the Sugar Tax.

“There will be no new tax for this year, except for Sugar Tax which we have already announced (in the 2019 Budget),” he said, much to the delight of some 2,300 IMKL2019 participants.

“It is delayed a bit as we want to ensure that the mechanism is effective to primarily meet our health objectives.

"Beginning next year, the government will use the revenue collected from this tax to provide free and healthy breakfast programme for all primary school children. We want our kids to be strong and healthy to perform in school.”

Malaysia will begin imposing an excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sweetened beverages starting July 1 this year, delayed from its original deadline of April 1 following feedbacks from manufacturers and the Customs Department.

Dr Mahathir said the proposal will address measures to reduce tax leakages, how to access the underground economy, enhance tax administration and find new sources of revenue. NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI.

It was reported that the 40 sen would be imposed on soft drinks with more than five grams of sugar or sugar-based sweetener per 100ml.

This will include carbonated drinks, or flavoured and other non-alcoholic beverages.

For juice or vegetable-based drinks, a 40 sen tax per litre will be imposed on drinks with more than 12g of sugar per 100ml.

Revamped education policies played centre stage in Dr Mahathir’s first appearance in IMKL since Pakatan Harapan took over Putrajaya in May last year.

“We want to produce quality, future-proof and values-driven graduates through three main outcomes - firstly, the emphasis on values in education; secondly, increasing quality across the system and thirdly, more autonomy and accountability.

"Key steps have been taken towards these ends in the last 10 months which include reviewing national civic and religious education curriculum. We have also abolished exams for Standard 1 to 3 to make way for a more holistic development of each child,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said there will be bigger reforms expected after the special taskforce, which is reviewing Malaysia's education policies from preschool to tertiary, completed their findings next month.

The reforms, among others, will touch on several key areas including English language, quality of teachers and the employability of graduates.”