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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 – Backbenchers Club chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad (BN-Johor Baru) today called for an end to sugar monopolies in the country now that the sugar subsidy has been removed.
“With the subsidy removed, the sugar industry should be liberalised.
Import of the commodity should be allowed for instance from Thailand and allow market forces dictate the price of processed sugar.
“Monopolies for sugar supply must be ended. There should also be no cartels fixing the price (of processed sugar),” he said when debating the Supply Bill 2014 in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Debating on the same subject, Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (BN-Bagan Serai) said the final 34 sen sugar subsidy which was ended when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2014 in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday, should be seen in a positive light as high consumption of sugar was one of the main causes of debilitating illnesses among Malaysians.
“Based on studies, in the 1970s Malaysians on average consumed 17 teaspoons of sugar a day and in 2008, the figure had risen to 25 teaspoons, in effect 750 teaspoons a month,” he said.
This not only burdened the people financially and in terms of health, but also the healthcare system which was heavily subsidised, he added.
Meanwhile, Datuk Chua Tee Yong (BN-Labis) said studies should be done on the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the people to ensure that irresponsible quarters do not confuse them on it.
He also suggested that a hotline on the GST be set up, or that GST online centres be created in each state to provide accurate information to the people on the introduction of the GST, which takes effect in April 2015.