Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen today said that the price of refined sugar is expected to be cheaper in the state after the ministry approved a food and beverages (F&B) manufacturing company the licence to import of raw sugar.
He said the ministry has already given import permit to a Sarawak F&B manufacturing company last December to import raw sugar in the open market, including Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil.
“It is the first company to be given the permit from Sarawak, thereby breaking the monopoly in the import of raw sugar and sugar refinery business in Malaysia,” he told reporters.
Chong said another two F&B manufacturing companies in the state have also applied for the permit to import raw sugar.
“The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs will meet soon to consider the applications,” he said.
Chong said he expects the price of refined sugar in Sarawak to drop to less than RM2 per kilo in the first half of next year against RM2.70 currently.
“The current price of raw sugar is about RM1.10 per kilo and after the refinery processing, the price may increase by 50 to 60 sen per kilo,” he said.
He said the drop in refined sugar price will help reduce the prices of food and beverage products which requires refined sugar as one of its main ingredients.
He said Sarawak and Sabah needs 140,000 metric tonnes of refined sugar per year compared to over one million metric tons for peninsular Malaysia.
He said the two Borneo states get their supply of raw sugar from three companies which control the sugar refinery business in Malaysia.
“This explains why raw and refined sugar is sold higher in the two states,” he said.
Chong advised F&B manufacturing companies from Sarawak to submit their applications for an import permit to him or the director of the state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Stanley Tan.
He said they submit their applications direct to the ministry’s headquarters in Putrajaya.