Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fuel, GST...and now removing sugar subsidy - certainly not helping Malaysians, especially the poor...

Certain food and fuel items need to be subsidized by the government to ensure that the prices are kept low and affordable for the people, especially the poor.

This has been done dutifully by the Malaysian government for quite some time and it was good. First, they removed/reduced the fuel subsidy...and now they want to remove(or maybe) reduce the sugar subsidy.

Sugar is a basic commodity used by all Malaysians - it is a necessity. The cost of living has already sky-rocketted, and hence all the more is it important to keep prices of essential items low and affordable. The current amount of money that the government is spending is RM720 million, and this is something that the government can reasonably continue to spend for the benefit of all the people in Malaysia. Compared to million dollar (billion dollar) spend in bail-outs, unnecessary military expenditure and other expenditures, lost in corruptions, etc..that benefit the few usually already rich persons, there really is no justification for this proposed move that will increase the price of sugar - hence the expenditure of the household.

Will price increases reduce the usage of sugar by Malaysians? I do not think so - what is needed is greater public awareness...

I believe that the government strives to remove all subsidies...and the latest target is this sugar subsidy. First, we suddenly see news reports about diabetes and Malaysians in the media, and then suddenly the Minister is talking about cutting subsidies and increasing the cost of sugar - and hence the cost of living. Was it all planned? Highlight diabetes first.... and then follow up with removal of sugar subsidy. Was the initial intention always the removal of sugar subsidy?

I say do not remove sugar subsidy - but increase public awareness to reduce sugar intake.

The Minister is heeding the call of NGOs, it is reported, but no information is given about the name of these NGOs. I am sure the good NGOs would not have asked for a removal of the current sugar subsidies - but for greater public education campaigns.Tell us the name of these NGOs that asked for an increase in the price of sugar....was it UMNO?

Malaysia may scrap a costly sugar subsidy in a move to promote a healthy lifestyle and discourage its citizens from indulging their sweet tooth, a minister said today.NONE
"The ministry is going on a campaign to ask Malaysians to take less sugar and there are calls from the NGOs asking the government to remove the sugar subsidy," deputy trade and consumerism minister Tan Lian Hoe told AFP.

"We are looking into this proposal as we hope Malaysians can consume less sugar for a healthier lifestyle, because sugar will cause a lot of illnesses," she said.

The government said it is spending RM720 million annually to subsidise the cost of sugar, one of a basket of price-controlled commodities.

Expect RM1 hike in price
Malaysia, a multicultural country which is home to Malays, Chinese and Indians, is famed for its cuisine but excessive consumption is being blamed for emerging health problems such as obesity and diabetes.

Sugar here is currently among the cheapest in the region, triggering cross-border smuggling and mass sales to neighbouring countries.

The withdrawal of the subsidy would see the price of sugar jump by about 70 percent from RM1.45 to RM2.45 per kilo, trade and consumer minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama.

Ismail Sabri said a survey has found that obesity among Malaysians rose from 16 percent in 1996 to 29.1 percent in 2006.

- AFP - Malaysiakini, 2/12/2009, Sugar to increase by RM1 per kilo to curb sweet tooth

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