KUALA LUMPUR: Felda settlers will have to bear continuous losses if the price of sugar remains low, says its chairman Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said this was because the settlers are shareholders of FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV) and Koperasi Permodalan Felda Bhd (KPF), which in turn are major shareholders in the country’s main sugar producer MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM).
“FGV and KPF hold 51% and 15.27% of MSM, respectively. At the same time, Felda settlers are shareholders of the two companies,” he was reported as saying by Bernama.
Shabery said that the skyrocketing price of raw sugar since 2020 had caused the actual price of sugar to far exceed the government’s ceiling price of RM2.85 per kg.
“In 2020, the price of raw sugar cost RM200 per tonne, but that has now tripled to RM600 per tonne,” he said.
“No matter how expensive it (raw sugar) is, the ceiling price of sugar sold to the public is RM2.85 (per kg).”
He said MSM had suffered huge losses, reaching up to RM178 million in 2022, severely impacting Felda settlers.
Shabery added that the price of standard sugar in Malaysia was much lower compared with Asean countries such as Thailand, which sells sugar at RM3.90 to RM4 per kg.
“The price of sugar is now subsidised by the settlers because they are MSM shareholders, not the government. Imagine a subsidy of RM1 per kg. That’s big. It is not fair if they continue to bear the subsidy,” he said.
Shabery said he hoped the government would act appropriately so the settlers would not have to be burdened with sugar subsidies, and added that Felda would consult with the government on the matter.