SUGAR PRO­DUCER WANTS TO RAISE PRICE BY 29 SEN PER KG

The cur­rent level is not com­pet­i­tive, say man­u­fac­tur­ers

New Straits Times - - Front Page - AMIR HISYAM RASID AND THARANYA ARU­MUGAM KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

ASUGAR man­u­fac­turer has called on the govern­ment to in­crease the re­tail price of sugar by 29 sen per kg to RM3.24. Felda Global Ven­tures Hold­ings Bhd (FGVH) group pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Zakaria Ar­shad said the com­pany was in talks with the govern­ment on the mat­ter.

“But, we also know that the govern­ment has dif­fi­culty to (ap­prove it),” he said.

He had ear­lier at­tended the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of FGVH’s sub­sidiary, MSM Malaysia Hold­ings Bhd.

The govern­ment in­creased the sugar price by 11 sen per kg to RM2.95 per kg on March 1, al­though MSM had asked for a 40sen in­crease.

Zakaria said the cur­rent price was less com­pet­i­tive than that in other coun­tries such as Thai­land, which is one of largest sugar pro­duc­ers in the world.

“Thai­land prices a kilo­gramme of its re­fined sugar at RM4, which is in­clu­sive of goods and ser­vices tax, while ours is priced only close to RM3.

“If the govern­ment can raise it (by another 29 sen), this will ease our bur­den and we can sus­tain our per­for­mance ahead,” he said.

MSM CEO Mo­hamad Amri Sa­hari said the price volatil­ity of raw sugar and ring­git per­for­mance had posed a chal­lenge for the com­pany to sus­tain its op­er­a­tions.

How­ever, he said, MSM was for­tu­nate that the raw sugar price had dropped to US$0.155 (67 sen) per pound now com­pared with US$0.22 per pound in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber last year.

“If the raw sugar price in­creases, it will be very dif­fi­cult for us.”

Amri said with the re­cent in­crease of sugar price lo­cally, con­sump­tion was ex­pected to re­main flat this year.

He said sugar price in Malaysia was among the cheap­est in the re­gion, es­pe­cially among non­sugar pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

Fed­er­a­tion of Malaysian Con­sumer As­so­ci­a­tions deputy pres­i­dent Mohd Yu­sof Ab­dul Rahman said an in­crease in sugar price would lead to domino ef­fects in the mar­ket.

“There will be spillover ef­fects as has hap­pened in the past. It will cause price in­creases for other food items such as your reg­u­lar glass of the teh tarik or roti canai. Con­sumers will be af­fected.

“The govern­ment should study the mar­ket and de­cide on a suit­able rate that will not ad­versely af­fect con­sumers,” he told the New Straits Times.

Yu­sof said the govern­ment should crack down on traders who raised prices un­rea­son­ably.

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