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Malaysian sugar tax starts today, here’s what you pay for

Malaysian sugar tax starts today, here’s what you pay for

What did you drink for breakfast today?

Was it a carton of whole milk? Or an energy drink to kick start your Monday blues?


Well did you know that starting today the Customs Department is charging sugar taxes on sweetened beverages?

According to a statement released by the Customs Department, there are 3 categories of drinks that will be charged under the sugar taxes.

1. Carbonated drinks (including energy drinks) with over 5g of sugar per 100ml

(Pic Credit: Beverages daily)

2. Fruit and vegetable juices with over 12g of sugar per 100ml 

(Pic Credit:

3. Milk based drinks with over 7g per 100ml

(Pic Credit:

A standard of 40cents will be charged for every litre of drink with an exceeds the standard amount of sugar. BTW, this is still lower than other countries that have started this sugar rule too.

Initially proposed to start on April 1, 2019, it had been postponed to today, July 1, 2019 with a transition period of 2 months till the end of August.


Does that mean we have to pay an extra 40 cents for every litre of fizzy drinks we buy today?


For now, taxes are only charged at the manufacturer levels only, with no plans to charge those drinks at eateries or restaurants, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

So our teh tarik and barista-made coffees are safe.


The reason for this sweet move, was to curb the obesity issue in our country.

Especially when we Malaysians have dramatically increased our average sugar intake in drinks from 7 teaspoons (about 28grams of sugar) to 10 teaspoons (about 40grams of sugar) within 5 years.

This alarming increase reported in 2017 is worrying, especially when the recommended amount of added sugar is only 50grams per day. And it is supposed to include all those hidden sugars in the food we take.


In a poll conducted by an international survey agency YouGov for The Star found that more than half of its respondents feel that with the implementation of a sugar tax, the intake of sweetened drinks will be reduced. (Hmmm.)

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