‘PUA’S CLAIMS

Re­view of Malaysia’s big­gest sugar com­pany shows it did not make su­per prof­its

New Straits Times - - News -

ARFA YUNUS KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

DAP na­tional pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary Tony Pua is wrong to ac­cuse the govern­ment of mak­ing “su­per prof­its” and tak­ing ad­van­tage of the pub­lic by in­creas­ing the sugar price by 11 sen ear­lier this month.

The Barisan Na­sional (BN) strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions team said the Pe­tal­ing Jaya Utara mem­ber of par­lia­ment mis­led the pub­lic in say­ing that sugar prices were lower in the years prior to 2013 with­out stat­ing that the com­mod­ity prices were heav­ily sub­sidised by the govern­ment.

It adds that in 2013, the govern­ment had re­moved sugar sub­si­dies partly due to health con­cerns and to heed calls for con­sumer as­so­ci­a­tions.

Pua on Thurs­day al­leged that the BN govern­ment had al­lowed Malaysia’s sugar du­op­oly to make su­per prof­its over the past two years.

“How­ever, an ex­am­i­na­tion of Malaysia’s largest sugar com­pany, the Felda-con­trolled MSM Malaysia Hold­ings Bhd’s ac­counts shows that it made a net profit of RM275 mil­lion on rev­enues of RM2.3 bil­lion in 2015 and a net profit of RM118 mil­lion on rev­enue of RM2.65 bil­lion last year — or net mar­gins of just 12 per cent and 4.4 per cent re­spec­tively — hardly su­per prof­its.

“As a com­par­i­son, the Pe­nang state monopoly water com­pany PBA Hold­ings Bhd (PBAHB), which is owned by the DAP Pe­nang state govern­ment with its chief min­is­ter (Lim Guan Eng) as the chair­man, had re­ported that it earned RM62 mil­lion in net profit out of rev­enues of RM327 mil­lion, which is a net profit mar­gin of 19 per cent.

“In fact, both the gross and net profit mar­gins of PBAHB far out­paces MSM,” said a state­ment from the com­mu­ni­ca­tions team.

It added that PBAHB was able to an­nounce a big 63 per cent jump in net prof­its after the Pe­nang govern­ment raised water rates by 16.7 per cent in 2015, on top of two other water rates in­creases in 2010 and 2013, with the ra­tio­nale given that it would help con­sumers use less water.

It also stated that last year, the

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