Malaysia: Govt working to stabilize sugar prices

April 10, 2024
ChiniMandi |

Kota Kinabalu: Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali announced that the government will determine the mechanism to stabilize sugar supply and pricing in the second quarter of this year (2Q2024).

One approach under consideration involves maintaining stockpiles to ensure a steady sugar supply. For example, the government may reserve one or two months’ worth of stock for Sabah, where the monthly demand averages around 4,700 tonnes.

Armizan did not dismiss the possibility of the government providing subsidies or adjusting the controlled price from the current RM2.85 per kilogramme. However, he assured that any decision made by the government would not burden the people.

“It’s a challenging decision to make. For instance, raising the controlled price could impact the cost of living for the people. Stockpiling is advantageous because it ensures we have reserves in case of delayed sugar supply, but this also requires significant allocation,” he stated.

Armizan highlighted that two manufacturers previously produced sugar at the controlled price of RM2.85, amounting to 42,000 tonnes per month. However, with global sugar prices surging by up to 100%, these companies have incurred losses since 2021, leading to reduced production.

These remarks were made during a press conference while inspecting the sugar supply at Gudang Sazarice Sdn Bhd in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park on Tuesday.

Armizan noted that the world experienced a deficit of sugar supply of approximately one million tonnes last year, with projections indicating it could reach 5.4 million tonnes this year. Various factors, including weather and geopolitics, have affected production.

Therefore, the government’s evaluation of the mechanism is crucial to ensuring that people consistently have access to sugar at reasonable prices, he stressed. Malaysia presently imports 100% of its sugar supply from countries like Brazil, India, and the Philippines, following the discontinuation of sugarcane production in Chuping, Perlis, in 2012.