2 local companies allowed to produce refined white sugar

Noel Achariam

TWO local sugar producers have been given the go-ahead to produce refined white sugar, with prices to be determined by market forces, the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry said.  

Its minister Salahuddin Ayub said MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM) and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR) had submitted applications to produce white sugar.  

“The government has approved this application because it will give consumers a choice, other than (buying) refined and coarse refined white sugar,” he said in Putrajaya today.  

On May 16, MSM said the local sugar industry urgently required government intervention by way of a price hike or introduction of a float as it faced high operating costs. 

As essential food producers, the sugar refining giant said local refiners are tasked with ensuring food security as imports are not a sustainable option, seeing as exporting countries may face outbound quotas from their respective governments. For example, India could switch off exports to protect domestic needs. 

Salahuddin also said MSM and CSR could continue to produce refined white sugar for the retail market at a price controlled by the government, which is RM2.85 per kg (coarse refined white sugar) and RM2.95 per kg (refined white sugar).  

MSM has a 60% market share in the local sugar refining business, while CSR’s stake is 40%.  

MSM previously said the local sugar industry had not been receiving subsidies from the government since 2013 and that it operated in a regulated environment governed by the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry under section 5 of the Control of Supplies Act 1961 and regulation 1 of the Control of Supplies Regulation 1974. 

MSM said the retail sugar price in Malaysia was among the lowest in the world, as gazetted under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (Determination of Maximum Price – No. 2, Order 2017). – May 25, 2023.

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