The government spent RM788 million to subsidize 1.26 million metric tonnes of sugar last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Tan Lian Hoe said though the price of sugar has been raised from RM1.40 to RM2.10,the government still absorbed 40 sen for every kilogram of sugar.
“The increase in price is due to increase in the price of raw material in the world market. Natural disasters in countries that are major producers has resulted in a shortage of supply to compel matters,” said Tan when winding updebate on the ministry’s Supplementary Supply Bill (2010) 2011.
Tan said since the price of sugar in Malaysia was comparatively much cheaper than neighbour countries, there has been an increase in smuggling activities by irresponsible people who are out to make ‘fast bucks’.
Sugar is sold at RM2.31 in Thailand, (RM4.51) in the Philippines, Singapore(RM3.61) and Indonesia (RM3.60).
Meanwhile, Tan said additional allocation are needed to subsidize sugar and flour due to an increase in demand from small and medium sized industries that are involved in the production of food and beverages.