PUTRAJAYA: There will be no increase in the price of sugar despite pressure from producers, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainudin today.
“Tell them (sugar producing companies) — if they want to make profits, don’t go overboard.
“How can they announce profits of hundreds of millions of ringgit, and then claim the price of sugar is low – that’s too much. I want to tell them I won’t raise the price of sugar,” he said at a media conference after launching a campaign to encourage moderation ahead of Ramadhan and the festive season. The campaign carries the hashtag #janganlebihlebih.
Malaysia’s biggest sugar manufacturer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, last week said it was seeking the government’s approval to raise the retail price of sugar by 29 sen a kilogramme because of the volatile global market for raw sugar and the weakened ringgit.
MSM, a listed subsidiary of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, has nearly two-thirds share of the domestic market in refined sugar.
The price of coarse granulated white sugar last went up by 11 sen to RM2.95 a kilogramme on March 1 due to an increase in global raw sugar prices.
Hamzah said any increase in the retail price of sugar would depend on the current situation in the global market, and not solely because of demand by sugar producers.
He revealed that some sugar supply companies had met him to ask for an increase in the price of the commodity, up to as high as 49 sen a kilogramme.
“I told them that (increase) won’t happen. I think the 11 sen increase (in March) is adequate for the companies to make profits,” he said.
The government will not spike up the price of sugar despite a request made by one of the country’s major sugar manufacturers to increase the price of the household commodity.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said this was because the government had only recently, in March, raised sugar price by 11 sen while the world market price of the commodity had dropped.
He said the government had raised the sugar price at the time because the global market price then was at US22 cents to US23 cents per pound.
“So, why should we increase the price (of sugar) when the world market price has dropped?” he said, referring to the current world market price at US17 cents per pound.
Hamzah was responding to the request made by local sugar producer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, to raise the price of sugar by 29 sen per kg, when met by reporters at the ministry’s monthly assembly in Putrajaya today.
The minister said the top management of MSM Malaysia including its chief executive officer had met him recently to discuss the matter.
“I told them firmly that the price of sugar could not be increased unless the company has made a big loss.
“But MSM Malaysia has recorded making profits, hence it is unfair for the government to allow sugar price to be raised to enable the company to double its profit,” he said.
At the assembly, Hamzah also launched the ‘#janganlebihlebih menjelang sambutan bulan Ramadan dan Aidilfitri’ video campaign to create awareness among consumers not to overspend or waste, but to spend moderately.
The minister also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysia Cooperative College and Skills Development Department to boost managing of cooperatives in this country.