Sugar shortage

I am quite certain that the shortage of sugar is artificially created. This is perhaps a response to the government requiring all those who sell sugar and cooking oil  to get an license. Apparently, this requirement is because sugar and other essential items are  controlled items and hence those who sell it must be ‘controlled’. At this rate, we will soon have to apply for separate license to sell separate things.. And the civil service will have to keep on employing more civil servants to put up more red tapes and requirements.

It is not so much of a hassle (even though it can still be a hassle depending on the Napoleons you are dealing with) for those in urban areas to obtain a license to sell sugar. BUt what about those retailers in rural areas?

Imposing licensing requirement is not the way to control hoarding. To check which retailers may be hoarding, perhaps, the enforcement officers can check the sale records of sugar importers and wholesalers, to see which retailers have suddenly purchased a big lot of sugar compared with their purchasing patterns in the past. To ask the importers and wholesalers to keep good sale record is perhaps more effective than licensing all the small retailers.

Subsidies distort markets, and this is one clear example of why subsidy of certain essential foodstuff should be slowly phased out. But this must be done gradually and there must be good monitoring of traders and hawkers to prevent them from taking advantage of the situation and raise their prices.

A cup of nescafe used to cost 1.20 in PJ just a few years back (coffee shop price, not cafe), now it is 1.70 , an increase of 42% in just a few years. Not to mention fried kwai Teow, Wan tan mee , nasi lemak and so on.

I think consumers must be more aware of their rights. When sugar goes up ten cents and a cup of coffee also goes up ten cents, there is a clear case of profiteering. We should boycott the coffee shop that is raising the price. We cannot depend much on enforcement , especially when there are so much of corruption in the country. The consumers have to depend more on themselves. But this is easier said than carried out. Malaysians are a Kiahsu lot  and many of them are selfish and would encourage you to participate in a boycott that they themselves will not take part.


On the subject of sugar, it is time that we take in less sugar. Unlike salt which is essential to our body functions, we do not really need sugar. If we are eating carbohydrates like rice, wheat, bread, oats and so on, we are already taking more them enough for energy requirements.

I am now quite used to drinking coffee without sugar. I also do not add sugar to red tea.

Children should be taught to drink less carbonated drinks like Coke; a can of this type of drink can contain up to 7 teaspoons of sugar.. Besides straining our pancreas to produce insulin after taking so much of sugar, it also add calories and make us obese. So children should be taught to drink water, tea and so on and less Coke, sarsi, lemonades and so on.






11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. iamyuanwu
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 13:38:00

    I stopped ordering drinks when I eat out for a long time now (mamak, kopitiam, Old Town cafes). The prices of drinks are just plain ridiculous. Over a month, they become quite a significant part of the budget.
    Just carry a bottle of water, or put one in the car.

    And we Malaysians eat wayyyyyy too much sugar for our own good.


  2. CYC
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 14:00:57

    Yang Berhotmud Tan Lien Hoe, could u clarify the doubts of your comrades Dr Hsu please.

    The wave of global price hike for most essential foodstuff already began. This is the result of free trade not subjected to regulation or subjected only to regulations made by interested group.

    When we always remember subsidies distorts markets, please also bear in mind political or economic strong arms could do the same without u realizing it. The subject matter here is not whether we should support subsidies policy, but rather what benefits we derive from such policy or without such policy. It is clearly a matter of the end justify the mean, and not the other way round.

    Perhaps Vincent Tan should emulate the partnership between Grameen (micro credit set by by Nobel price winner Dr. Mohd Yunus) and Danone (well known F& B producer) in producing affordable yogurt as a means to address the malnutrition among Bangladeshi children base on a Social Business model. Similarly, Vincent Tan could partner of our ministry to run sports betting and channel the profit into social welfare of Malaysia citizens at large. By doing so, he will not need to go through the hassle of donating, explaining and appealing etc.

    With Najib running our country’s administration, High price is for sure but high income not so sure.


  3. CYC
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 14:39:45

    People tend to over glorify absurd and complicated theories but overlook simple yet result bearing ideas. We adores celebrities and well known figures but hardly pay attention to those who really contribute to the well being of this society. Look at those Prime Minister of Bangladesh who always crazy about power and wealth, what is their contribution to nation building compare to Prof. Yunus?

    Prof. Yunus epitomes the greatness and pure mind of a human being. He surely deserves my vote for another Nobel Prize – in economics this time though he may not has invented any bombastic academic theory but by merely reinforcing the practicality of micro credit and social business in addressing the poverty issue should justify his entitlement of this award.


  4. suraksakh
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 16:31:50

    I’m currently working in the sugar and oil trading company in Kelantan. We directly involve in this issue as our company is the largest player in the state. Almost everyday KPDN officers visit our office to collect our sales delivery and stock info. Although we had tried our very best in distributing sugar fair to the sellers and industries, the problem still can’t be solved. Even the KSU of the ministry from Putrajaya had been visited us for a meeting, our company strongly suggest govt to withdraw the subsidies given and we believe it will be the best solution for this issue. No doubt there was some smuggling activities along the Thai border but its more about panic buying by the consumers when most of them preparing for the coming Ramadhan’s month usage. We all are the tax payers and we hope that the govt will spend our tax money for our people in our country but not to subsidize the smugglers nor Thai people. Once again i suggest Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry to withdraw and restructure the subsidies and to reconsider the requirement for traders to have retail licences to sell price-controlled items.


  5. klm
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 21:13:36

    It takes 11 licenses to run a retail store. This new license makes it number 12. How do to business?
    If I were running a retail store, I swill top selling sugar, rice and oil.

    It reminded me of some true Malaysian stories.

    1. It reminded me of a story of an owner of a cooking oil factory in KL. He is an honest business man and pays his taxes. He needed 11 licenses to do his business. This guy spent mos of time chasing after the enforcement officers from the various agencies. (wink, wink. You know what I mean).

    2. There is another guy in Johor who is in the oil palm business. He spent his day time drinking teh tarik. He only work at night to collect oil palm fruits. He needed only one license, the police.
    What he does is that he takes his lorry to Sime Darby estate to collect the fruits. If he gets into trouble, the police will talk to the estate manager to let him go.

    There is no incentive to do any honest business in this country. Not with 11-12 licenses to do any think. It is better to do underground business.


  6. John
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 21:15:23

    It is so ridiculous to see government officers selling sugar because of the sugar shortage.
    Next they will be selling flour and cooking oil ?

    Just tighten the border against smuggling and the situation will be alleviated.


  7. aca
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 21:38:01

    after gobblying up Sugar King’s business, pice of sugar goes up. now shortage. whats next, UMNO?


  8. petestop
    Jun 09, 2010 @ 15:44:00


    Even Ice Chinese Tea nowadays cost a whopping
    RM0.80 here in Penang.

    Obviously not due to sugar price hike and just plain profiteering.

    Anyway, this is perhaps a blessing in disguise, a good reason for everybody to reduce sugar intake.


  9. Dr Hsu
    Jun 09, 2010 @ 18:09:16

    petestop, in a way, eating out in NZ can be quite reasonable if compared with their standrd of living.

    A plate of mee may cost NZ$8, equivalent to RM20, but you can just order plain water which costs you nothing..Compared with their standard of living and the earning power, it is reasonable. In Malaysia, some eateries can charge RM5-10 for a glass of fruit juice. Just try DOME. But when you see how crowded these places are, you begin to wonder how these people get their money; most probably, their parents own coffee shops that charge RM0.80 per glass…

    Drinks are getting too expensive, and they are not that healthy too.


  10. disgusted
    Jun 09, 2010 @ 23:55:52

    How about a small glass of fresh sugar cane drink RM1.80 or teh tarik at pudu pasar also RM1.80 or Pandan fish head restaurant for a plate of plain white rice, a small piece of fish (smaller than an adult palm), a scoop of overcooked cabbage and a scoop of curry water at RM8.10 (option, instead of fish a small piece of mutton with bone attached).

    Or local fruits like rambutans (about 30) at RM8, 5 small mangoes at RM7.

    A glass of lime juice (just one lime) at 5 (with ice cubes) at Tm Connaught coffeeshop. One fish ball (smaller than a testicle) at RM0.60.

    Profiteering is everywhere. Hawker food prices up and up. A plate of chicken rice, with 4-5 small pieces of chicken at RM6. Char siew (thin slices) and some miserable paper blade slices cucumber. Nothing compared to good old days when serving is generous and prices low.

    No wonder snatch thieves and robbing are now professional jobs.


  11. atila
    Jul 03, 2010 @ 03:50:07

    Dr Hsu

    Past year, I stopped buying white sugar, brown sugar & any sugar produced locally and abroad.
    Anyway processed sugar is bad for health.
    Only take Molasses cost me RM23.90 per bottle

    Why? Want to make a guess.


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