No more monopoly on sugar imports, says Chong

Previously only two companies in West Malaysia were given the permit to import raw sugar and refine it in the country. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has finally broken up the monopoly on sugar imports in the country.

Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen said food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers in the country could now apply for sugar import permits.

He said one of the F&B manufacturers in Sarawak had successfully obtained a permit to import sugar, adding that it was part of the new federal government’s efforts to break the monopoly in several sectors in the country.

“The new federal government feels that monopoly is bad for the country’s economy.

“As such, the ministry is looking very seriously at this business which is being monopolised by certain groups or individuals,” he said at a news conference here today.

Chong said the open policy would benefit F&B manufacturers in the country, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

They can now import refined sugar direct from overseas at a cheaper price, compared to the previous policy where only two companies in West Malaysia were given the permit to import raw sugar and refine it in the country.

Chong noted that previously, F&B manufacturers had to buy refined sugar at RM2.80 per kg from companies in West Malaysia but with the import permit, they could buy sugar from overseas for less than RM2 per kg.

“This is part of the PH government’s efforts to control the escalating cost of living as one of the causes is the monopoly policy implemented by the previous government,” he said.

Chong urged other F&B manufacturers to apply for the import permit and hoped that lower manufacturing costs would reduce the price of F&B products sold in the market.

According to him, F&B manufacturers in Sabah and Sarawak were using between 100 and 200 tonnes of refined sugar per year, while Malaysia consumed more than 1.3 million tonnes per year.

He said the permit application could be approved within one month.